Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Biggest day yet

Bald Eagle from St. Paul Island, AK
As expected a weak front moved through pre-dawn and with it being the first break in the "nice" weather in quite some time the birds were moving with it.  The day itself was actually quite nice as the rain stayed away leaving us with cloudy to mostly sunny skies and pretty moderate temperatures given the persistent winds from the NW all day.  There were no major highlights for the day but an early morning Harlequin Duck, a distant Sabine's Gull, and yet another unidentified jaeger topped the list.  Tomorrow is suppose to be similar, though with a greater chance of showers during the count, so we will see what it has to bring.

Overall waterbird numbers were the best of the season and while Aythya ducks were a large part of that total, with 207 Redheads, 6 Ring-necked Ducks, 708 Greater Scaup, 50 Lesser Scaup, 576 unidentified Scaup, and 401 unidentified Aythya ducks, there were also seasonal high counts for a number of other species including White-winged Scoter (389), Black Scoter (23), Bufflehead (15), Common Goldeneye (11), and Red-breasted Merganser (234), of course most of these numbers will be far exceeded later in the season but for now they are the high water marks.  Small numbers of dabblers are also still moving through with the first American Black Duck and Gadwalls in some time seen today along with a moderate flight of 52 Mallards among others.  Loon numbers were not much improved however with 39 Commons and 5 Red-throateds making fly-bys, but grebe numbers were much improved with a good late-season count of 487 Red-neckeds and another nice flight of 50 Horneds to boot.

The shorebird clan made a glorious re-appearance on the point today with a total of TWO: a fly-by Wilson's Snipe early this morning and a single Sanderling on the shore.  The only other notable sighting in the gull realm was a group of 11 Bonaparte's Gulls during the late-morning which was the first such sighting in quite awhile.

Landbirds were less in evidence than waterbirds on this day but a small group of White-winged Crossbills were seen passing over the point for the first sighting of the fall while a small movement of Bald Eagles (at least 8 birds) was noted throughout the day.

No comments: