Overall duck diversity is still pretty good with an increase in dabbler numbers over the past few days while the expected divers continue to be seen. A surge of Gadwalls, American Black Ducks, and Northern Pintails over the past few days has been a welcome sight while decent numbers of American Wigeons, Mallards, and Green-winged Teals have also been noted, 3 late Northern Shovelers were seen on the 16th. There were decent numbers of Aythya ducks on the 14th but since then they have been in short supply with small numbers of Redheads, Ring-necked Ducks, and Lesser Scaup joining the flocks of Greater Scaup. The best duck of late was the third Harlequin Duck of the season which was noted with two Surf Scoters on the 15th while overall scoter numbers have been good with daily high counts of 28 Surfs on the 14th, 320 White-wingeds on the 14th, and 13 Blacks on the 15th. "Winter" ducks are beginning to increase as well with small numbers of Buffleheads and Common Goldeneyes showing up more frequently in recent days while Long-tailed Duck numbers are steadily increasing as one would expect.
Loon numbers are holding steady with a daily average of more than 50 Commons from the 14th to the 17th while up to 5 Red-throateds continue to be seen daily. Grebe numbers have also held their own with about 20 Horneds per day lately while Red-neckeds continue to add to the record high count at a rate of nearly 90 each day. As is customary this time of year shorebirds have been very few and far between with a group of 4 Dunlin on the 15th being the only birds seen other than an occasional Sanderling. The juvenile Sabine's Gull first noted on the 13th was still being seen regularly each day through the 17th with a second migratory bird noted on the 15th. The season count now stands at 17, just two short of the all-time season record. The only large white-headed gull noted beyond the two ubiquitous species was a 1st-winter Thayer's that was found among the the roosting gulls on the point late this afternoon.
It's the season of sparse landbirds so this weekend's low numbers were no surprise but there were a few nice birds noted with a Townsend's Solitaire seen at the edge of the Jack Pines on the morning of the 17th being the best. Other good birds noted included a Sharp-tailed Grouse that was found along the trail to the point on the 16th, a Short-eared Owl that came across the lake on the morning of the 17th, and a Brown Thrasher frequenting the feeders during the afternoon of the 17th. Other birds seen of late included a few lingering warblers (mainly Yellow-rumped) and a lone Blue-gray Gnatcatcher while winter finches (including Common Redpoll and Evening Grosbeak) and Snow Bunting numbers continue to increase with each day that passes. Raptor numbers have been good lately with the increased Buteo migration in recent days totaling about 15 Rough-leggeds and 25 Red-taileds while Bald Eagle, Northern Harrrier, Northern Goshawk, Merlin, and Peregrine Falcon have also been seen coming in across the lake or hunting the point.