Saturday, October 9, 2010

Loon hat trick

Common Redpoll from St. Paul Island, AK
The past two days have seen similar weather: light-moderate winds with A LOT of sun and warmer than normal temperatures.  Pretty much all that means is that the big high pressure system is still controlling our weather and ruining what should be one of the most productive times of the year at the point.  Thankfully there are enough decent birds on the lake to produce a few nice sightings both yesterday and today but overall migration has stalled considerably.  Tomorrow is forecast for W/NW winds and some clouds so maybe that will be accompanied by a resurgence in bird numbers.

Yesterday and today both saw two "write-ins" appear off the point with yesterday's being a Sabine's Gull and a White-rumped Sandpiper (the first of the fall) and today it was a family group of 5 Tundra Swans and 2 separate Pacific Loons.  The loons flew east about an hour apart and were still retaining their full breeding plumage which made up for the continuing small numbers of Common and Red-throateds this season.  Also seen yesterday was another unidentified jaeger to add to this year's record count.

Basic migrant waterbird numbers were weak both days with yesterday being a shade better than today.  Scoters, Mergansers, and Aythya ducks continue to be most abundant with small numbers of the more common dabblers and a few additional divers mixed in for good measure.  Long-tailed Ducks are still passing through in small numbers while a Hooded Merganser this morning was the second of the season and still a bit on the early side for them.  Grebe numbers were much better yesterday with 112 Red-neckeds and 42 Horneds as compared to 13 Red-neckeds and 11 Horneds today, Common and Red-throated Loon numbers were basically the same with mid-20s for the big species and a couple for their snaky-necked cousin each day.

Shorebirds are in short supply these days but a single American Golden-Plover was seen both days with a few Sanderlings still on the point and a Dunlin joining them today.  A Bonaparte's Gull was noted each day with the much reduced Ring-billed numbers down to about 30-40 around the point each day.

Non-waterbirds have been a bit better these past couple days but again that may simply be due to a few pairs of eyes in the woods during the morning.  Yesterday was mostly forgettable with a Northern Goshawk and White-breasted Nuthatch being the most interesting birds while today saw an increase in Common Redpoll and Evening Grosbeak numbers along with a few new migrants including a late Osprey, an additional White-breasted Nuthatch, and the first Blue-headed Vireo seen this fall.

1 comment:

markie said...

Would be nice if Evening Grosbeak populations were rebounding.