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Migration Counts

The WPBO Migration Counts Blog provides updates on the spring and fall migrations of waterbirds, raptors, shorebirds, and more.

Week 4 Waterbird Count Recap: Good Numbers, Good Birds.

Some days, the most peaceful moments of the waterbird count are about ten minutes before it actually starts. I like to arrive at the shack a little early: collect the first weather data, scan the lake and beach for resting birds--ease into things, you know. When the sun edges up over High Hills, time starts [...]

2019-05-15T22:38:56-04:00May 15th, 2019|Migration Counts|Comments Off on Week 4 Waterbird Count Recap: Good Numbers, Good Birds.

A New Bird

Once the raptor migration really gets going, it isn't often that we will get a new species for the season. By this time, all the species that are expected have already shown up at least once. However, I've learned to always expect surprises! Last week when scanning a blue sky filled with puffy white clouds, [...]

2019-05-09T14:56:34-04:00May 9th, 2019|Migration Counts|Comments Off on A New Bird

Welcome to May: 3rd Week of the Waterbird Count

  At this latitude, May is a high-octane month. Night starts later, day begins sooner, and I think we all flounder a bit as we try to keep up with all we want to see. When dusk falls, Long-eared Owls rise from the pines near the Point and often, I fall victim to the urge [...]

2019-05-09T21:30:19-04:00May 9th, 2019|Migration Counts|Comments Off on Welcome to May: 3rd Week of the Waterbird Count

Ice Out, Birds In: Waterbird Count Week 2

Eight hours most days, I stand on Whitefish Point’s cobbled beach. There, from whichever side of the waterbird shack is the lee side du jour, I make sweeping scans with binoculars and spotting scope. To the west is a stand of scrappy jack pines where, this week, a shrike has (albeit with different, more murderous [...]

2019-05-01T16:05:55-04:00May 1st, 2019|Migration Counts|Comments Off on Ice Out, Birds In: Waterbird Count Week 2

Tales from the Hawk Shack

There was an amazing Red-tailed Hawk show this past week complete with a leucistic and two dark morphs! Watching them made me realize how long individual Red-tailed Hawk can stick around throughout the day. It was interesting to see so many kettle far out, then break up and fly past the hawk deck, then come [...]

2019-04-23T20:50:54-04:00April 23rd, 2019|Migration Counts|Comments Off on Tales from the Hawk Shack

The Crossing: First Week of the Waterbird Count

A woodcock twitters overhead, squeezing one last display flight into a sky just beginning to color. You do claim this bird as your spring harbinger, I remind myself. It bears repeating--the morning’s commute starts as a cautious traverse across frozen melt puddles, then transitions to a postholing of sorts through still-deep snow. During the first [...]

2019-04-22T10:37:45-04:00April 22nd, 2019|Migration Counts|Comments Off on The Crossing: First Week of the Waterbird Count

A Week of Firsts

The last week of March and the first week of April were pretty slow for migrating raptors. A few birds each day, but nothing truly spectacular in terms of numbers. However, April 5 and 6 brought a few different birds to the Hawk Deck. With the majority of raptors seen so far being eagles or [...]

2019-04-08T18:54:44-04:00April 8th, 2019|Migration Counts|Comments Off on A Week of Firsts

The Voices of Corvids

It continues to amaze me how versatile the vocal range of the American Crow and the Common Raven can be. Every day I am met with several of each species, whether they are resident, stopping over for a few days, or just passing through on their migration flight. Those individuals who alight on the tops [...]

2019-04-02T18:13:45-04:00April 2nd, 2019|Migration Counts|Comments Off on The Voices of Corvids

A New Season

The new WPBO hawk counting season began March 15, and I was excited to get started right away. Unfortunately the weather had other ideas, greeting us with high winds and few birds those first couple days. Despite a slow start, a few good flights have come through already. I’ve had an awesome flight of Bald [...]

2019-03-25T21:38:13-04:00March 25th, 2019|Migration Counts|Comments Off on A New Season

Ducky Days Continue at the Point

With just over a week left in the season, the makeup of migrants counted from the waterbird shack has continued to change. Long-tailed Ducks are still being seen in triple-digit totals regularly, and are by far the top species counted with a current total of 20,960, but they no longer dominate each day’s flight quite [...]

2018-11-06T19:48:02-04:00November 6th, 2018|Migration Counts|Comments Off on Ducky Days Continue at the Point