First Waterbirds in the Water (Mallard) – Common Merganser – Brown-headed Cowbird – Increasing Raptor Diversity

A big moment at the Point in recent days: the first waterbirds of the season were observed in the lake! Two Mallard were seen flying in and landing in Lake Superior on April 5 with three male Common Merganser, the first of the season, seen in the water the next. There is still plenty of ice left, however, which grants birds like Bald Eagle and Herring Gull the opportunity to stop atop the floes.

Passerine migration has yet to pick up. Species of note include the first Brown-headed Cowbird on April 6 and increasing flocks of Common Redpoll with the largest this week numbering at 50 individual birds (that stopped over at the thistle feeder behind the Owl’s Roost Gift Shop and made multiple passes around the tip of the Point). Snow Bunting are remaining modest in number with one to three seen or heard almost daily. Pine Grosbeak are, sadly for me but good for them, fewer and fewer.

Raptor migration is still slow, but diversity is picking up. Cooper’s Hawk, American Kestrel, Northern Harrier, and Rough-legged Hawk all made an initial appearance in the span of two days and Turkey Vulture numbers are picking up.

There is not much else to report at the moment past a desire to see more birds of greater variety moving through sooner than later (but with weather in the UP and the nature of the Point, one never knows what to expect or when!).

– Charlotte R. Catalano, WPBO Field Ornithologist

Photo: A coyote making a dash across the frozen lake ice during a passerine survey. Photo by Charlotte R. Catalano