Thursday, August 26, 2010

Lake Superior spouts off

No, I am not crazy enough to think the lake is making fun of me for sitting next to it all day staring at birds flying by, though I may be later on this fall but we will just have to wait and see if that happens. I was however fortunate enough to watch the start of a water spout this morning as the one cumulonimbus cloud over the lake decided to put on a short-lived show when it sent down a funnel cloud that made it about half-way to the lake before losing steam and dissipating. Growing up in Tornado Alley and living in the desert I'm pretty familiar with other tornadic events but this was my first water spout.

Unfortunately the birds could not hold the excitement created by the weather as the light northwestern winds didn't seem to be pushing much south or east. Red-necked Grebes were again the most common with 300+ noted today while Common Tern (66) and Blue-winged Teal (25) rounded out the top three. About a dozen Common Loons flew past while a poor duck showing was highlighted by a slight increase over the past week in White-winged Scoters at 9.

Shorebird diversity remained about the same with a small contingent of Baird's, Semipalmated, and Least Sandpipers joining the Sanderlings and Semipalmated Plovers on the point. The only clearly new arrivals for the day were a group of 6 Ruddy Turnstones that were found mid-morning but had disappeared by the afternoon.

Non-waterbird diversity continues to be pretty good with a decent raptor show today as the local Merlins, Sharp-shinned Hawks, and Northern Goshawks duked it out over hunting rights to the point this morning, the Merlins seemed to come away victorious. Passerine numbers were a bit down from the past two days but a healthy contingent of warblers continue in the woods including Black-throated Blue, Blackpoll, Ovenbird, and Northern Waterthrush, while small numbers of Swainson's Thrushes, a Philadelphia Vireo, and a couple Lincoln's Sparrows were also noted during the day.

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