Monday, September 27, 2010

Blondes? Brunettes? Nope, I'll take a Redhead

Today's weather appeared like it would be no better than recent days when I checked the forecast before reluctantly rolling out of a warm bed this morning but like I have learned while trying to predict bird migration in the past, what we presume to happen is often not what does.  All day it was clear and sunny with light S winds but for some reason there were birds.  To be fair they were almost all Redheads or other species associated with the Redhead flocks but at least there was movement.  In the end I tallied 401 Redheads today mostly coming through in flocks of 15-40 birds that sometimes trailed a few hangers on, and sometimes did not.

Small but respectable numbers of other duck species came through as well with the next two highest counts being 76 American Wigeons and 75 Greater Scaup.  All of the regular dabblers appeared at some point or another while the divers were in smaller numbers with very few scoters coming through and a much reduced merganser count.  Loon numbers continue to be low with Red-throated nearly out-pacing Common today but a late surge gave the Great Northern variety a 13 to 9 advantage.  Red-necked Grebes continue in small numbers with 54 seen while a pair of migrant Horned Grebes and a single bird hanging around the point this morning were the only ones noted of that species.

As has become typical of recent days the same light-phase juvenile Parasitic Jaeger cruised the point on several occasions today while two other distant jaegers added to the total of unidentified birds for the year.  Shorebirds were again scarce with a single American Golden-Plover joining a small group of Sanderlings as the only healthy birds left while an injured Baird's Sandpiper was there but who knows for how much longer.

The woods were a bit more alive today with a Black-backed Woodpecker heard from the shack this morning and small numbers of passerines including an improved warbler count with at least 6 species seen.  Most notable was a late Ruby-throated Hummingbird that buzzed the shack this afternoon, if the records I have are correct this would be the latest sighting for the point by one day.

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