Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Highlights: Black-backed Woodpeckers (photo above)

There were two Black-backed Woodpeckers working the bayside treeline this morning. A flock of about 20 Lapland Longspurs was foraging in among the Beach Heather much of the day. A good movement of Robins occurred through late morning, and sparrow numbers are continuing to build. White-crowned and White-throateds are now regular at the feeders, and Lincoln's and Swamp are present around the Point most days. The season's first Dunlin was out on the breakwall this morning. Other sightings included: Merlin, Peregrine Falcon, Golden-crowned and Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Winter Wren, Brown Creeper, and Palm Warbler.
Lapland Longspur

The Point this morning. You can just
see the waterbird shack to the right
of the trees. The Point itself extends almost
to the right end of the photo along the horizon.
We believe this to have
been a water spout.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Highlights: Black Scoter
Another day covering the waterbird count. There was a nice flight today. A thousand Canada Geese, 85 Green-winged Teal, over 400 White-winged Scoters, over 100 Surf Scoters, just over 200 Common Loons, and over 200 Red-breasted Mergansers. Other sightings included; American Wigeon, Greater and Lesser Scaup, Red-throated Loon, Red-necked Grebe, and Sandhill Crane. Plover numbers were down today, with just 2 American Goldens, and 1 Black-bellied. A dark/rufous morph Red-tailed Hawk was also seen today.
Common Loon
I made a visit to one of our local MAS sanctuaries this afternoon. There were bear and wolf tracks on a damp lake bed in the Shroyer Sanctuary.

bear tracks

bear and wolf tracks

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Tim is taking his first days off of the season, so I covered the waterbird count today. The waterbird flight was relatively slow today, but picked up a bit again after the winds turned northwest. Waterbirds seen today included; Redhead, American Wigeon, Red-throated Loon, and White-winged and Surf Scoters. American Golden-Plover and Black-bellied Plover continue daily. The Golden-Plovers and the Horned Larks made several very close approaches to the waterbird shack. The Merlin was regularly chasing the crows today (photos below).
incoming Merlin
the crow flips

the chase continues in a dive

Horned Lark

American Golden-Plover

Friday, September 26, 2008

Highlights: Parasitic Jaeger
Tim had an adult Parasitic Jaeger from the tip this morning. A heavy fog through early afternoon, and a stiff south wind kept things relatively slow today. Sightings today included; White-winged and Surf Scoters, Northern Goshawk, Winter Wren, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Lincoln's Sparrow, and Lapland Longspur.
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Orange-crowned Warbler

Northern Harrier

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Highlights: Boreal Owl (banded)
Keith and Wendy banded the first Boreal Owl of the fall last night. Hopefully this is a sign that it will be a good fall for the northern owl species. Tim finally got a nice waterbird flight again, he also continues to have decent shorebird activity at the tip. Merlin and Peregrine Falcons continue to hunt the woods and the tip on a daily basis. The woods were fairly active again today. The warbler diversity was down, but we continue to see more of the mid-season migrants. Sightings today included; Ruffed Grouse, Brown Creeper, Winter Wren, Pileated Woodpecker, and Gray-cheeked Thrush.
Peregrine Falcon


Swamp Sparrow

American Golden-Plover
adult (left), and 2 juveniles

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Highlights: Hudsonian Godwit (photos above)
Black-backed Woodpecker
A Hudsonian Godwit landed on the tip for several minutes before rocketing back out over the lake to join a flock of southbound scaup. A Black-backed Woodpecker made an appearance on the Merlin pole. Diversity was down a bit in the woods today, but it was still fairly active. White-crowned and White-throated Sparrow numbers increased and a few Lincoln's Sparrows were present. Other sightings at the Point today included; , Red-necked and Horned Grebes, Redhead, Greater & Lesser Scaup, American Wigeon, Common Loon, Merlin, American Golden-Plover, Black-bellied Plover, Pectoral Sandpiper, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Horned Lark, and Lapland Longspur.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Highlights: Pectoral Sandpiper (photo above)

The woods continue to be active. White-crowned Sparrow and Pine Siskin numbers increased today. Warbler diversity was a bit down, but Orange-crowned, Pine, Black-throated Green, Nashville, Yellow-rumped, Palm, and Common Yellowthroat were seen. Raptors seen today were Northern Harrier, Bald Eagle, Red-tailed Hawk, Merlin, and Peregrine Falcon.

Black-bellied Plover

American Golden-Plover

Horned Lark

Pine Warbler with itch

Bald Eagle with fish

Monday, September 22, 2008

Highlights: Black-backed Woodpecker,
Clay-colored Sparrow
Activity was relatively low yesterday. However, the woodpeckers were interesting from the waterbird shack in the morning. There were a lot of Downies, and they made multiple attempts to land on various tripod legs as we were standing at our scopes. We also had Black-backed made an appearance on the Merlin pole.
There was some good activity today. Pine Siskin numbers continue to grow, including several flocks of over 100. A flock of 29 American Golden-Plovers cut over the parking lot this morning. Warblers made a decent showing with Tennessee, Orange-crowned, Nashville, Northern Parula, Cape May, Black-throated Blue, Pine, Palm, Yellow-rumped, and Common Yellowthroat being seen. The season's first Pileated and Hairy Woodpeckers, and Common Grackle were seen. Other sightings included; Peregrine Falcon, Merlin, Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Brown Creeper, Philadelphia Vireo, Rusty Blackbird, Lincoln's and White-crowned Sparrows, and Lapland Longspur.
We regularly see birds act aggressively towards each other. The following four photos show a Yellow-rumped Warbler trying to scare off a Cape May Warbler. The Cape May stood its ground and the Yellow-rumped moved on.

Red-eyed Vireo

Gray-cheeked Thrush

Hermit Thrush

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Highlights: Peregrine Falcon
There were quite a few birders around today, and finding birds seemed to require a bit of work and a bit of luck. Warbler diversity picked up a bit from yesterday with sightings of Nashville, Northern Parula, Magnoilia, Yellow-rumped, Blackburnian, Palm, Blackpoll, Bay-breasted, and Common Yellowthroat. Sparrow numbers continue to gradually increase, with Chipping, Savannah, Lincoln's, White-throated, White-crowned, and the season's first Swamp seen today. Other sightings included; Philadelphia Vireo, Hermit, Gray-cheeked, and Swainson's Thrushes, Winter Wren, Ruby-crowned, and Golden-crowned Kinglets, and Blue-gray Gnatcatcher.

Northern Parula
WPBO board members Tom Wheeker and Jerry Ziarno led a tour today. Participants arrived for a powerpoint presentation and a visit to the owl banding last night. Thanks to Keith and Wendy they were treated to a close encounter with a Barred Owl in hand this morning. After spending the morning with Tim out at the waterbird shack they had the opportunity to view songbird banding. WPBO research chair Mike Bishop was here to do some banding with his Alma ecology students. The photos below are of tour participants viewing the banding of a young Hermit Thrush. Thanks to all the tour participants.
Things have been busy the last few weeks, and we have some belated thanks to give out. Board members Leonard Graff, Tom Wheeker, and Susan Clark recently visited to make repairs on our staff housing. Under Leonard's excellent guidance a new floor was put in, and much needed repairs were made to the roof. Not only did they make the repairs, but they did the work during the short gap between summer and fall owl banding. Since the owl banders sleep during the day, we greatly appreciated their thoughful scheduling. Thanks folks. We owe another thanks to Tom and his wife Lucy for loaning us their powerpoint projector for several months to give the owl presentations we ran this summer.
Leonard after a hard days work.
We also owe a big thanks to Theresa Grattan and her fiance Doc. They had us over to their house for a day of building our Saw-whet nest boxes and benches for our owl programs. We greatly appreciate their hospitality, their time, and the use of their tools. The money for the nest boxes was raised through the raffle a limited edition print of my Great Gray Owl painting (photo below). Thanks to all who purchased raffle tickets at this year's Spring Fling. Thanks to additional donations made to the nest box program, we will be able to make more boxes once the local mill has more rough sawn cedar. Lathe Claflin also made and donated a beautiful cedar nest box that puts those Nova and I have made to shame.

Great Gray Owl painting

Theresa, Doc, and some idiot in the background

benches and Saw-whet nest boxes

Friday, September 19, 2008

Highlights: Stilt Sandpiper (photos above)

A Stilt Sandpiper was seen at the tip this afternoon. It was fairly accommodating until the Peregrine Falcon pictured below flushed all the shorebirds off the tip. While there was lots of activity in the woods today, the warbler diversity was the lowest it's been in weeks. There were again lots of Am. Robins, Yellow-rumped Warblers, and Pine Siskins around. Other sightings included; Northern Harrier, Northern Goshawk, Merlin, American Golden, Black-bellied, and Semipalmated Plovers, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Gray-cheeked Thrush, and Lapland Longspur.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Highlights: Black-backed Woodpecker
We continue to see a drop off in the early season migrants, and an increase of several mid-season migrants. There were lots of Robins, Yellow-rumped Warblers, and Pine Siskins to sort through this morning. Although warbler diversity is dropping off 7 species were seen today. The feeders have been attracting Lincoln's, White-throated, and White-crowned Sparrows the last few of days. Tim has also had a bit of a drop off in shorebird diversity, but American Golden-Plover and Black-bellied Plover are becoming more regular. Other sightings today included; Gray-cheeked and Swainson's Thrush, and Golden-crowned Kinglet.

Hermit Thrush with some retained juvenile feathers

American Golden-Plover (left)
Black-bellied Plover (right)

molting adult American Golden-Plover

American Golden-Plover,
adult in front & juvenile in back

Highlights: Sabine's Gull,
Western Kingbird (photo above), and
Black-backed Woodpecker
The weather was beautiful and there was nice activity at the Point today. Tim had 3 jaegers and the season's first Sabine's Gull out at the tip today. The Western Kingbird was found around noon, and was still present this evening. Mixed in with lots of Yellow-rumpeds were 10 additional species of warbler including; Bay-breasted, Blackpoll and Northern Parula. The season's first Yellow-billed Cuckoo, and Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers were seen. Horned Lark, American Pipit, Savannah, Lincoln's, White-throated, and White-crowned Sparrows, and Lapland Longspur are being seen daily. Keith and Wendy banded the first Barred Owl of the season last night.

Tennessee Warbler

Painted Lady

I could easily be wrong on this, but I
believe this spider that has taken up residence
at the waterbird shack is a Zebra Jumper