Sunday, December 9, 2007

There has been some activity over the last few days. A male Black-backed Woodpecker, (photo above) was at the Point on the 6th. Other recent sightings have been Bufflehead, Long-tailed Duck, Bald Eagle, Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers, Red-winged Blackbird, Pine Grosbeak, and Common Redpoll (photo below). Calvin and Charlene Brennan visited this weekend and also had Common Loon, and Northern Goshawk.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Well, with the limited diversity these days, Nova and I were somewhat excited to have a Fox Sparrow show up at the feeders at the staff housing today. As fate would have it, the Northern Shrike that has been making the occasional raid on our feeders was even more excited (Nova's photo above). Other birds at the housing feeders today were Blue Jay, Northern Cardinal, Red-breated Nuthatch, Pine Grosbeak (photo below), and Common Redpoll. The weather turned on us and we've had well over a foot of snow and high winds over the last few days. More is expected, along with 40 mph wind gusts tomorrow. Prior to the storm the feeders at the Point were still being visited by Red-winged Blackbird, Pine Grosbeaks, and Common and Hoary Redpolls. A handful of waterbirds were also still around; Common Loon, Red-breasted Merganser, Red-necked Grebe and Long-tailed Duck. Other sightings included Ruffed and Sharp-tailed Grouse, Bald Eagle, and Sharp-shinned Hawk.

Nova and I made the trek over to the upper falls in Tahquamenon State Park during the first snow fall (photo below). Truly beautiful in the snow.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Highlights: Prairie Warbler, Hoary Redpoll, Pine Grosbeak

The Prairie Warbler continues to hang on in spite of snow and low temperatures. At least 2 Hoary Redpolls, were among the 50 Common Redpolls at the feeders today. Nine Pine Grosbeaks were also at the feeders, along with a Red-winged Blackbird and a Snow Bunting. Nova and I had an amazing experience with 5 River Otters (photo above) near the Tahquamenon River mouth this afternoon. These otters fished near shore, within 30 feet of us for about 20 minutes.

Friday, November 23, 2007

I have begun posting some of my photos, from this and previous seasons at the Point, at the bottom of the page. We would also like to encourage people to post comments about the blogs at this time. Cory, Keith, Wendy, and I were amazed by the positive feedback we recieved on the blogs from visitors this fall. It was particulary amazing to have people from as far away as North Carolina visit and tell us that they had been checking our posts. This is the first season there has been official WPBO staff blogs, we would like to continue this. It would be helpful if WPBO board members could see positive feedback, so please post comments if you would like to see these real time updates from the Point continue. As I post this, I'm hoping people are still checking this blog.....Hello?.......Hello?
The Whitefish Point Christmas Bird Count will be held on Saturday, December 22. Any interested parties should contact Skye Haas at

Highlights: Cape May Warbler (photo above), Bohemian Waxwing, Northern Goshawk, and Hoary Redpoll
A Cape May Warbler, first found on the 17th, was relocated again today. The temperatures have dropped over the last few days, and seeing this bird foraging in the snow was very strange. The Prairie Warbler, first located on October 22, was seen as recently as the 21st. Activity around the Point has dropped of recently, there are however still some birds around. Additional sightings today included; Common Loon, Bald Eagle,Red-tailed Hawk, Northern Goshawk, Bohemian Waxwing, Snow Bunting, Common & Hoary Redpoll, Pine Grosbeak, and American Goldfinch.
In response to a comment on the previous post. We will keep the feeders going until we leave in mid-December. The Evening Grosbeaks are very sporadic, and are not being seen most days. The Pine Grosbeaks are still being seen daily in varying numbers, there are usually 4-12 coming to the feeders daily.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Highlights: White-winged Crossbill

Well, the official field seasons for 2007 came to an end yesterday. Nova and I will however be here until mid December. We will continue birding the Point and will periodically post sightings. A few new birds for the season were spotted by Nova over the last few days; Eastern Bluebird and Cooper's Hawk. There have been no big changes in the woods, but the feeders continue to be productive. Feeder birds have included Northern Cardinal, Pine & Evening Grosbeak, and Common & Hoary Redpoll. The above photo is of a Red-tailed Hawk.
For those who may be interested, I will be posting some of my favorite photos taken at the Point this spring, summer and fall. This will take a bit of sorting and editing, but I hope to start getting some up in a week or so.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Highlights: Townsend's Solitaire (photo above), continuing Prairie Warbler, Hoary Redpoll, Thayer's Gull, and Iceland Gull
Birds at the feeders today included Red-breasted Nuthatch, Chipping and White-crowned Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbird, Brown-headed Cowbird, Pine and Evening Grosbeak, Common and Hoary Redpoll, and Pine Siskin. The Prairie Warbler was relocated today and a Townsend's Solitaire was observed for about an hour. Both Thayer's and Iceland Gulls were at the harbor this evening (photos below, Thayer's top, Iceland bottom).

Friday, November 9, 2007

Highlights: Hoary Redpoll (photo above)

There has not been much change over the last few days as far as songbirds are concerned. The feeders continue to be visited by American Tree, Chipping and White-crowned Sparrows, Pine and Evening Grosbeak, Common and Hoary Redpoll, and Pine Siskin.
Other recent sightings have included; Pileated woodpecker, Red-winged Blackbird, Hermit Thrush, and Snow Bunting.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Highlights: continuing Prairie Warbler
The vast majority of songbird activity today was at the feeders. Birds at the feeders included; Common Grackle, Chipping, White-crowned and American Tree Sparrows, Indigo Bunting, Northern Cardinal, Purple Finch, Pine Siskin, Pine and Evening Grosbeak, Common and Hoary Redpoll, and American Goldfich. Snow Bunting have also been frequenting the area around the feeders, including the one in the photo that actually perched in the alders behind the feeders.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Highlights: partial albino Pine Grosbeak (photo above), continuing Prairie Warbler
Pine Grosbeak numbers increased today, and they began visiting the feeders. Bohemian Waxwing, and Common and Hoary Redpolls continue to be seen daily. Red Crossbills are also being seen daily, but only as fly overs. There were two Northern Cardinals at the feeders today, along with Chipping, Song, and White-crowned Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbirds, Pine Siskin, and American Goldfinch.

Highlights: Bohemian Waxwing (photo above), Hoary Redpoll
The birding was very similiar to yesterday's. Sightings include; Northern Goshawk, Pileated Woodpecker, Northern Cardinal, Pine Grosbeak, Red Crossbill, Pine Siskin, and Common and Hoary Redpoll

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Highlights: Bohemian Waxwing, Northern Cardinal
The weather was pretty nasty today, but there was some movement. Sightings included; Northern Goshawk (photo above), Pine Grosbeak, Purple Finch, Common Redpoll, Red Crossbill, and Pine Siskin.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Highlights: continuing Prairie Warbler (photo above)

South winds produced a rather slow day. The Prairie Warbler, 1st seen on the 22nd, was again seen today, this time it was keeping company with a Yellow-rumped Warbler. Seven Bohemian Waxwings were seen in flight, and Northern Goshawks were regularly patrolling the Point (photo below). Last night Keith and Wendy spotted a Northern Hawk Owl and a Great Gray Owl, they posted a cool shot of the Hawk Owl sitting on the lighthouse on the owl blog.

I did some searching south of the Point today in hopes of finding a Hawk Owl or a Great Gray. No luck with the owls, but there was a Sharp-tailed Grouse (photo below) and a Northern Shrike along Lone Pine Rd.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Highlights: Short-eared Owl, Black-backed Woodpecker, Pine Grosbeak (photo above).
Well, as would be expected at this time of year up here, it is starting to be all about the winter finches. Today Pine & Evening Grosbeaks, Red & White-winged Crossbills, and Common & Hoary Redpoll were all seen at the Point. A Short-eared Owl came in off the lake and hung around a bit. A Black-backed Woodpecker also made a brief appearance. A Northern Shrike chased a Downy Woodpecker for about a minute out at the Point, we think the Downy got away. Flocks of Snow Bunting were regularly coming in off the lake today.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Highlights: Prairie Warbler, Pine Grosbeak, and Hoary Redpoll (photo)

The birding was relatively slow again today. The sparrows have slowed down and the winter birds have not yet really kicked in. The exception continues to be redpolls. Common Redpoll flocks are widespread around the Point and multiple Hoary Redpolls were at the feeders today. Three male and one female Pine Grosbeak were feeding in shrubs today, previous reports have all been fly overs. Red Crossbills were seen flying over today. Snow Buntings continue to be seen daily, best bet for these guys is on the beach out at the tip. Keith and Wendy found a Prairie Warbler this afternoon. One has to assume it the same bird from the 21st, but it did appear brighter than that bird. Cory had a Black-legged Kittiwake from the waterbird count today.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Highlights: Hoary Redpoll (photo above)
A ripping north wind all but shut down songbird migration today, there were still a good number of redpolls around. A Northern Shrike caught one at the feeders right in front of us today.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Highlights: Townsend's Solitaire, Northern Cardinal, Black-backed Woodpecker and Dark-eyed "Oregon" Junco (photo above).
After not being seen yesterday, one of the Townsend's Solitaires was relocated this afternoon. It was in the open area opposite North Shore Road. This is private property, but the bird was viewed from the road. A female Northern Cardinal was at the feeders, as was the "Oregon" Junco. Other sightings in the woods today included Black-backed Woodpecker, Northern Shrike, Bohemian Waxwing, Pine Grosbeak, and lots of Common Redpoll

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Highlights: Towsend's Solitaire (3), Prairie Warbler (yesterday)

Two Townsend's Solitaires (one in photo above) were found this morning. This evening at least three were still being observed. Yesterday a Prairie Warbler (photo below) was seen very briefly. The Harris's Sparrow continues at the feeders. Other sightings included Pine Grosbeak, Common Redpoll, and Snow Bunting.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Highlights: Cave Swallow, Pine Grosbeak, Northern Cardinal, and Bohemian Waxwing

The weather was absolutely beautiful today and there was some productive birding. The Cave Swallow was seen multiple times until around 3:00 today, this record requires acceptance by the Michigan Bird Records Committee. Other sightings in the woods included Barred Owl, Pileated Woodpecker, Winter Wren, Pine and Evening Grosbeak, and Common Redpoll. Snow Buntings (photo above) continue frequenting the beach. Cory had a nice flight out at the waterbird count today, including nice close passes along the shoreline by Bonaparte's Gulls (photo below)

Feeders: Ruffed Grouse, Northern Cardinal, Northern Shrike (not there for the seed), Harris's Sparrow, Lapland Longspur and Evening Grosbeak

Cave Swallow: Photographed at the Point at approx 1:40 on October 21. Additional photos were taken by Cory Gregory and Kirk Zufelt. We will post an update on any additional sightings, or lack thereof tonight.

Highlights: Cape May and Magnolia Warbler
Well, anybody in the region knows we have been seeing some very unsettled weather. The last few days have been slow for songbirds, but it picked up a bit today. The Cape May and Magnolia Warblers seen today were both late dates for the Point. Horned Lark, American Pipit and Lapland Lonspur have been frequenting the grass around the parking lot and continue being seen out at the Point along with Snow Bunting. Common Redpoll continue daily and have begun visiting the feeders, as have Evening Grosbeaks. The hawks have been putting on some nice shows, over 40 Red-taileds today, Rough-leggeds have also been making appearances as have Northern Goshawks (photo above).
Feeders: Rusty Blackbird, Indigo Bunting, American Tree, Chipping, Savannah, Song, Lincoln's, White-throated, Harris's, and White-crowned Sparrows, White-winged Crossbill, Common Redpoll, Pine Siskin, Purple Finch, and Evening Grosbeak.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Highlights: Barred Owl and adult Northern Goshawk

As is the case during any season, there are going to be slow days. A light east wind really stalled out the migration today, there were still a few good sightings though. A Barred Owl (photo above) was roosting at the Point today. Snow Buntings were on the beach again today, and there was once again a roving flock of Common Redpolls.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Highlights: Black-legged Kittiwake

Activity has been slow in the woods over the last couple of days, but some of the later season birds have begun appearing. Northern Shrikes (photo above), Common Redpoll, and Snow Bunting have been being seen daily. Other reports have included Bohemian Waxwing, Pine and Evening Grosbeak, and White-winged Crossbill. Rough-legged Hawks showed up yesterday, and another was seen today. There have been predictions of a good winter finch season, and we are beginning to see hints that this is going to prove true.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Highlights: Northern Shrike, Common Redpoll, and Harris's Sparrow

Well it has finally begun to feel like fall and appropriately enough the first Northern Shrike and Common Redpoll of the season showed up today. American Tree (photo below) and White-crowned Sparrow numbers have also been increasing. Evening grosbeaks have begun visiting the feeders, after a week or so of flying over the Point. The numbers of Golden-crowned Kinglets have also been growing over the last couple of days. It pains me to admit it, but Cory got better shots of the Shrike than I did today and he posted a nice shot on the waterbird blog.

Feeders: American Tree, Song, Vesper, White-throated, White-crowned, and Harris's Sparrow, Dark-eyed junco, Purple Finch and Pine Siskin. A Ruffed Grouse has also been making the occasional appearance.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Highlights: Orange-crowned Warbler, continuing Harris's Sparrows

There were a few warbler around today, in addition to the Yellow-rumpeds and Palms we had Cape May, Tennesse, Orange-crowned, and Magnolia. Harris's Sparrows continue at the feeders, at least two were still present. there were good numbers of Savannah and Swamp Sparrows around and Tree Sparrows are now being seen daily. A LeConte's Sparrow was found at the foghorn pond on the 6th. The feeders continue attracting large numbers of Pine Siskin.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Highlights: LeConte's Sparrow (photo above), Harris's Sparrow (3)
The woods have been rather active the last few days. There have been lots of Yellow-rumped and Palm Warblers. Other warblers have included Tennessee, Magnolia, Redstart, and Northern Waterthrush. Sparrow diversity has been high with American Tree, Chipping, Savannah, LeConte's, Fox, Lincoln's, Swamp, White-throated, Harris's, and White-crowned being seen. Both Red and White-winged Crossbills along with Evening Grosbeaks made fly by appearances today and a Northern Cardinal visited the feeders this afternoon.
There was a big waterbird migration today and owl migration continues to be productive. Be sure to check Cory's waterbird blog along with Keith and Wendy's owl blog for updates.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Highlights: Short-eared Owl, Parasitic Jaeger and a continuing Harris's Sparrow

Waterbird count: Visibility was limited today, but there was still a nice movement close enough to shore to see. White-winged Scoters are moving in decent numbers as are scaup. Other waterfowl included Redhead, American Wigeon, Surf Scoter, Black Duck, Pintail and Blue-winged Teal. Shorebirds today were Black-bellied, American Golden, and Semipalmated Plover, Sanderling ,and a flock of about 70 Dunlin. A Short-eared Owl (photos above) came in off the lake and hunted the beach for about 20 minutes. It returned several hours later and worked the Point briefly before heading out over the bay. Other raptors seen were Bald Eagle, Northern Harrier (including the adult male in photo below), Osprey, Red-tailed Hawk, and Merlin. We continue to get nice looks at Parasitic Jaegers. We had a nice long look at one as it came down the lakeside shoreline. The bird today had a very buffy head compared to yesterday's.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Highlights: Parasitic Jaeger, Black Scoter

Waterbirds: The day started off slowly, but the last 2 hours of the count picked up. Sightings included all three scoter species, Redhead, Black-bellied and American Golden Plover and Baird's Sanpiper (photo below). We also had a nice pass from a Parasitic Jaeger (photo above).
Cory and I have been doing the best we can trying to identify jaegers to species and to determine if the same individual is remaining at the Point, a very difficult task. Just visible in the above photo are the pointy central tail feathers of a young Parasitic. These feathers were longer and pointier than the feathers on the Parasitics most recently seen at the Point (see photos in most recent posts). The last Parasitic we observed with streamers this long and pointy, other than an adult, occured on 9/19. The Sept. 19th bird also appeared more pale headed than today's bird, so I assumed this was a new bird. 40+ Dunlin came by the Point after the count had ended.

As I covered the waterbird count, the woods didn't get much coverage today. The Harris's Sparrow was still at the feeders. A cuckoo was seen from the Point, and Keith and Wendy had a Yellow-billed this afternoon. There were lots of Pine Siskins at the feeders today.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Highlights: Pacific Loon, Black-backed Woodpecker, Harris's Sparrow, White-winged Crossbill

Waterbirds: There has been some good waterbird movements in the last few days. Over 600 Surf Scoters were seen on the 28th. Dabbler diversity is picking up, as are scaup numbers. Jaegers continue to be seen daily, although they have not given us any very close passes in the last few days (photo below, from several days ago). Black-bellied and American Golden Plovers are being seen daily and we also had the first Dunlin (photo above) of the season. Thanks to Greg Norwood for covering the count on the 28th and 29th.

Songbirds: There have been lots of American Pipits, Horned Lark's and Lapland Lonspurs on the beach for the last few days. Black-backed Woodpeckers continue making brief appearances most days. Up to 3 Harris's Sparrows have been present and at least one was still present at the feeders today. Warbler diversity is winding down, recent sightings include Blackpoll and Northern Waterthrush.

Hawks: Bald Eagle, Red-tailed Hawk, Northern Harrier, Northern Goshawk (photo below), Merlin and Peregrine Falcon continue making regular appearances.

Owls: Keith and Wendy are having an amazing season for Barred Owl, they have already broken WPBO's single season record for this species. This is not an easy species to see at the Point if you're not one of the owl banders, but we found this bird roosting the other day (photo below). Check for their updates on the wpbo owl blog.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Highlights: Harris' Sparrow (photo above), Sora, Pacific Loon
There was a lot of songbird activity today. Nine species of Warblers , a nice number this late in the season up here, and nine species of sparrows were seen today. Both Black-billed and Yellow-billed Cuckoo were were also observed. There were lots of Golden-crowned Kinglets roving the Point. Black-backed Woodpecker was observed again, it is now being seen most days.
Feeders: Activity at the feeders is really picking up. Nine species of sparrow have been seen using the feeders in the last two days; Chipping, Clay-colored, Savannah, Fox, Song, Swamp, White-throated, Harris', and White-crowned. An Indigo Bunting has been around for several days and Pine Siskin and Purple Finch numbers continue to grow.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Highlights: Loggerhead Shrike, Pipevine Swallowtail (butterfly)

The Loggerhead Shrike found this morning has not been seen since 11:30. It had disappeared for about an hour before being refound at it's original site, but no luck since that 2nd sighting. To reach the area where the bird was found use the trail across from the lighthouse subdivision sign, which is down the road from the parking lot. This sign is on the right hand side of the road as you approach the parking area. When you walk in this trail you will come to an area where there is a large open boggy area on the left. The bird was hunting from the dead snags at the near end of the open area.

Also seen today at about 5:00 was a Pipevine Swallowtail actively feeding around the parking area (photo below). This may be the first sighting of this butterfly on the U.P since one was collected in Keweenaw County in 1977, and the only record for the U.P. outside of Keweenaw County. These facts are from Mo Nielsen's book Michigan Butterflies and Skippers published in 1999.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Highlights: Western Kingbird (photo above)

A Western Kingbird was present for about an hour this morning, including repeated flights to the shoreline. There was good activity in the woods again today. Sightings included Golden-crowned Kinglet, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, and Tennessee, Magnolia and Blackpoll Warblers (photo below).

Feeders: The feeders continue to be very active. Birds include Savannah, Swamp, White-throated and White-crowned Sparrows, Dark-eyed Junco, Purple Finch, and lots of Pine Siskin. It was an odd sight today to see a Tennessee Warbler foraging on the ground with a bunch of the Pine Siskins.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Highlights: Black-backed Woodpecker, Red Crossbill

It was a birdy day in the woods again today. Six species of woodpecker were seen today. It was the first day that a Black-backed was repeatedly seen, as opposed to just a fly-by, and the first Yellow-bellied Sapsucker of the season was seen behind the feeders. There were lots of Golden-crowned Kinglets and a decent number of Ruby-crowneds. Warblers today included Magnolia, Blackpoll and Redstart. Today was the first day that multiple Swamp Sparrows were around. Flocks of Pipits were regularly observed coming in off the Lake and landing on the beach. Lapland Longpurs are also being seen daily out on the beach (photo below)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Highlights: Black-backed Woodpecker, Red Crossbills, lots of thrushes

Songbirds have been active at the Point the last few days. There have been lots of Gray-cheeked and Swainson's Thrushes. Warbler diversity has been down, but Cape May and Blackpoll have been seen along with Yellow-rumped and lots of Palms (photo above). A group of 7 Ruffed Grouse have been frequenting the area over the last few days(photo below). Other sightings included Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Golden-crowned and Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Swamp and Clay-colored Sparrows.

Feeders: Activity has really increased around the feeders. Numbers of White-throated Sparrows, Purple Finch, Pine Siskin, and American Goldfinch are steadily building. Other recent feeder birds have included White-breasted and Red-breasted Nuthatch, Clay-colored and Savannah Sparrow.

Jaegers continue to be seen out at the waterbird count(bottom photo), and occasionally come well inland at the Point in hot pursuit of gulls.