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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.

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 [...]

2018-11-06T19:48:02-05:00November 6th, 2018|Migration Counts|Comments Off on Ducky Days Continue at the Point

Big Day and a Very Rare Visitor

Watching waterbirds is always an unpredictable endeavor, and can be quite the exercise in patience. The past week has held great examples of the days that make the seemingly endless hours of tedium all worth it. Last Tuesday began with a strong flight of Aythya and Scoters, along with an great smattering of dabblers for [...]

2018-11-06T19:06:57-05:00October 27th, 2018|Migration Counts|Comments Off on Big Day and a Very Rare Visitor

First snow on the waterbird count!

Today was the first day snow fell on me during the waterbird count! I saw snow across Lake Superior in Canada’s Algoma Highlands on September 29, over two weeks ago, and Saturday was the first day I brushed off my car before heading to the Point for sunrise, but today’s precipitation was my first opportunity [...]

2018-11-06T19:07:32-05:00October 15th, 2018|Migration Counts|Comments Off on First snow on the waterbird count!

Waterbird Count Halfway Point!

The season is just past halfway through, the weather has certainly changed, and with it so has the diversity of migrants being seen on the WPBO waterbird count. Perhaps the biggest constant this season has been the Red-necked Grebes. Though their peak day of 2,954 was well over a month ago they haven’t stopped yet, [...]

2018-11-06T19:08:34-05:00October 7th, 2018|Migration Counts|Comments Off on Waterbird Count Halfway Point!

Autumn Arrivals

Autumn has officially begun, and with the days now shorter than nights, an increasing diversity of waterbirds are headed to their wintering grounds. Though the number of dabbling ducks is dwindling, a bump in divers has given the WPBO fall migration count plenty of action. Aythya ducks have arrived, with a total of 397 unidentified [...]

2018-11-06T19:09:14-05:00September 26th, 2018|Migration Counts|Comments Off on Autumn Arrivals

Big days of waterbird migration

Despite a strong headwind both days, thousands of waterbirds migrated past Whitefish Point on Tuesday and Wednesday! Following several slow days of warm weather and southerly winds, I wasn’t expecting to see much migration on Tuesday as conditions were set to stay the same. The day got off to a promising start though, with a [...]

2018-11-06T19:09:57-05:00September 12th, 2018|Migration Counts|Comments Off on Big days of waterbird migration

Sandpipers and More Grebes

For me, the highlight of the past few days has been the shorebirds! I’ve always particularly enjoyed watching them scramble along a beach or a breakwall, even before I began to seriously tackle the notoriously difficult challenge of learning to distinguish one peep from the next. Today I finally caught up with one of my [...]

2018-11-06T19:10:38-05:00August 30th, 2018|Migration Counts|Comments Off on Sandpipers and More Grebes

Big day for Red-necked Grebes

One incredible aspect of fall migration here at Whitefish Point that makes it so unique is the annual passage of thousands of Red-necked Grebes. According to Behrens and Cox’s Seawatching: Eastern waterbirds in flight, the Point “is the best site in North America for Red-necked Grebe, with numbers that dwarf those counted at all other [...]

2018-11-06T19:11:19-05:00August 23rd, 2018|Migration Counts|Comments Off on Big day for Red-necked Grebes