Thursday, August 19, 2010

Both the weather man and I were right, sign of the apocalypse?

I drove to the point and then walked to the shack in a cold, dark rain, I ended the day with a sunburn, go figure. The day started off ugly with the back end of the system that pushed west across the UP bringing rain, light fog, and no birds, but after about 30 minutes it began to clear and everything changed. As the morning went on the clouds dispersed, the wind lessened and shifted to the north/northwest, and the birds began to flow under ever-sunnier skies which means both the weather man's prediction and my prediction, based on his prediction, were correct, eerie. Tomorrow's forecast is for rain and southerly winds so lets hope the meteorologists aren't accurate for two straight days.

After a rough first hour of the count which accounted for under 25 birds and no Red-necked Grebes the dam began to burst with nearly 500 Red-necked Grebes in the second hour and then over 850! in the third hour, numbers declined throughout the rest of the day but the total count ended at 2155, a slight increase over Tuesday. Common Loon numbers were again steady with 16 moving past while duck diversity was significantly better than previous days including the season's first Gadwalls, Northern Shoveler, and Greater Scaup.

Shorebird diversity was slightly higher with 9 species as Black-bellied Plover and Lesser Yellowlegs were replaced by a Spotted Sandpiper, a Ruddy Turnstone, and 2 Buff-breasted Sandpipers while Baird's continued to be the most common at 26 individuals. Tern numbers were higher than previous days as 25 Common Terns passed by the point with a couple unidentified Sterna Sp. passing by mid-morning.

Other birds noted today included a pair of Broad-winged Hawks in the early afternoon and a clear turnover in migrant passerines on my walk back from the shack which included a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, 3 Red-eyed Vireos, and numerous warblers (Magnolia, Black-throated Blue, Palm, Black-and-white, Wilson's, and Canada).

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