Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sabine's Gull invasion

This year's great Sabine's Gull numbers just got amazing with the past few days being the best yet for the species.  On Monday for the second time this year there were two sighted and on Tuesday there was a single bird seen and with that sighting the single season record was broken with 20, today however, was by far the best yet with no less than 4 juveniles seen.  Three birds were visible at one time late morning and a single bird flew in from Canada a little later to add to the total for the day.  It remains to be seen how long this "invasion" will last but as far as I am concerned it doesn't need to end anytime soon.

In other news the weather has been seemingly very good for the past few days but the waterbirds have been a little disappointing given the conditions.  While total numbers each day are not that bad, and the flight was actually pretty good on Monday, it has been a little bit of a letdown, given that our poor migration weather had finally broken, not to have a larger movement.  The weather (strong western winds with some wintery precip) is suppose to remain similar through Saturday so we will see.

The only slightly unusual duck species to be seen of late were 2 Canvasbacks that flew past on Monday afternoon with a small group of scaup and scoters providing the first sighting of the year for that species.  In dabbler news the number of Gadwalls, American Black Ducks, Mallards, Northern Pintails, and Green-winged Teal continue to hold firm with daily sightings of all species, and in some cases, in good numbers.  Scoter numbers were best on Monday when 30 Surfs, 83 White-wingeds, and 24 Blacks were seen while all three species have been seen each of the past two days but in smaller numbers.  Aythya ducks were present in good numbers on Monday (about 1100 total birds) but there has been fewer than 50 each of the past two days.  Smaller numbers of Buffleheads and Common Goldeneyes continue to pass by of late with the most common waterfowl being Long-tailed Duck and Red-breasted Merganser with average daily totals of 250 and 400 respectively.

Common Loon numbers have yet to drop-off (not that they have been that high to start with) with an average of 35+ for the past three days while Red-throateds just continue to move by in small, but consistent numbers with daily tallies of 4, 2, and 2.  Horned Grebe have dropped off from the large numbers last week with only 2 each of the past three days while Red-neckeds are still moving by with about 45 per day to begin the week.

Beyond all of the Sabine's Gull the clear gull highlight was a non-breeding adult Black-legged Kittiwake that graced the point with its presence for a preciously short time on Wednesday afternoon only 15 minutes prior to the end of the count.  The Thayer's Gull also remained until Monday but has not been seen since then.  The only shorebird noted in the past three days was the season's sixth Wilson's Snipe which was tallied on the morning of the 18th as it flushed from the Jack Pines to the west of the shack.

For notes on recent landbirds and the Common Ground-Dove found today please take a look at the sightings blog.


Rick said...

I remember your first Sabine's, don't I?
Common Ground Dove--snazzy!

WPBO said...

Yep, nothing like a Fall day halfway between Phoenix and Yuma to see a pelagic gull.