Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sabine's and Parasitic

The winds did indeed shift overnight and today I was greeted by strong WNW and eventually NW winds that blasted the point under cloudy skies all morning long. By mid-morning the sustained winds were causing waves on the lake to reach the 10-15 foot range and a small contingent of freighters were sitting in Whitefish Bay so as not to become 2010's Edmund Fitzgerald. Of course the birds can fly above the waves so while it seems many (at least hopefully) decided to wait for the weather to die down a bit a few still decided to get up and use the strong tailwind to their advantage. The weatherman says similar weather for tomorrow but with a little calmer winds so we will see what that has in store for us.

Since this blog is suppose to be about Whitefish Point birds not the weather I guess I'll mention the few highlights that did come by. The season's second and my first juvenile Sabine's Gull spent about 5-10 minutes kiting over the waves along the point a little before 10 this morning while in other news the season's jaeger total continued to rise with 5 seen today including two intermediate juvenile birds that came close to the point and could clearly be ID'ed as Parasitics. That brings the season total to 30 jaegers including 25 over the past week alone.

However, overall waterbird numbers were lower than hoped for with Canada Goose remaining the most common for the second consecutive day at 164 birds while Red-necked Grebe was again second with 135 and Common Loon clung to third with 27 birds counted. Duck numbers rebounded a bit with the season's first Hooded Merganser early in the morning, a single of each Scaup species, and 2 White-winged Scoters in the afternoon. Red-throated Loons continue to move by in small numbers with 5 seen today, the season's highest yet total. Shorebirds, terns, and Bonaparte's Gulls continue in small numbers with little change in species makeup or abundance.

The high winds hampered birding on the point itself for yet another day with a couple American Pipits circling the point being the most notable landbird seen.

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