Thursday, November 19, 2009

With the end of the fall field season on the 15th, so ends the research for 2009. It seems like more than 8 months since we were contending with feet of snow when the the spring research season started. After a particularly wet and cold spring and summer we experienced a beautiful September and November. The combined results of the research seasons resulted in the documentation of over 171,000 individual birds of 241 species. Included in these 241 species are Chaffinch and Whooping Crane, two birds which cannot be officially counted due to their origins. Notable sightings included records of the Point's 1st Tufted Titmouse, 2nd Western Grebe, 2nd American Avocet, 4th Long-billed Dowitcher, Brant, Long-tailed Jaeger, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, and a King Eider at the Tahquameneon River mouth. All nine species of owls that occur at the Point were seen this year, 8 in spring alone. The owl research resulted in the banding of 1,164 owls; 928 Northern Saw-whets, 75 Boreals, 142 Long-eareds, 1 Short-eared, 10 Barreds, 4 Great Grays, 2 Great Horneds, and 2 Northern Hawk Owls. While the larger species of owls are seen fairly regularly when they are present, only 1 Saw-whet and 2 Boreals were found away from the owl banding. The spring hawk count tallied over 15,000 individual diurnal raptors of 16 species and also had a Snowy Owl fly by the platform! Of course the spring & fall waterbird counts are responsible for a large number of the sightings and details can be found on the waterbird blog. Below is a list of the 2009 sightings by season, S=spring and f=fall. Considering our northern location and the fact that our research area is only about 40 acres the list is quite impressive. I will hopefully get another post in before I wrap up here and join Nova down at Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge in Texas for the winter.

Snow Goose: F
Cackling Goose: F
Canada Goose: S/F
Brant: S
Tundra Swan: S
Wood Duck: S/F
Gadwall: S/F
American Wigeon: S/F
Am. Black Duck: S/F
Mallard: S/F
Blue-winged Teal: S/Fl
Northern Shoveler: S/F
Northern Pintail: S/F
Green-winged Teal: F
Canvasback: S/F
Redhead: S/F
Ring-necked Duck: S/F
Greater Scaup: S/F
Lesser Sacup: S/F
eider species: F

Harlequin Duck: F
Surf Scoter: S/F
White-winged Scoter: S/F
Black Scoter: F
Long-tailed Duck: S/F
Bufflehead: S/F
Common Goldeneye: S/F
Hooded Merganser: S/F
Red-breasted Merganser: S/F
Common Merganser: S/F
Ruffed Grouse: F
Spruce Grouse: F
Sharp-tailed Grouse: F
Red-throated Loon: S/F
Pacific Loon: F
Common Loon: S/F
Horned Grebe: S/F
Red-necked Grebe: S/F
Western Grebe: F

American White-Pelican: S
Double-crested Cormorant: S/F
Great Blue Heron: S/F
Green Heron: S
Turkey Vulture: S/F
Osprey: S/F
Bald Eagle: S/F
Northern Harrier: S/F
Sharp-shinned Hawk: S/F
Cooper's Hawk: S/F
Northern Goshawk: S/F
Red-shouldered Hawk: S
Broad-winged Hawk: S/F
Swainson's Hawk: S

Red-tailed Hawk: S/F
Rough-legged Hawk: S/F
Golden Eagle: S
American Kestrel: S/F
Merlin: S/F
Peregrine Falcon: S/F
Sandhill Crane: S/F
Black-bellied Plover: S/F
Am. Golden-Plover: S/F
Semipalmated Plover: S/F
Piping Plover: S/F
Killdeer: S/F
American Avocet: S

Greater Yellowlegs: S/F
Lesser Yellowlegs: S/F
Solitary Sandpiper: S/F
Spotted Sandpiper: S/F
Whimbrel: S/F
Hudsonian Godwit: S
Ruddy Turnstone: S/F
Red Knot: S
Sanderling: S/F
Semipalmated Sandpiper: S/F
Least Sandpiper: S/F
White-rumped Sandpiper: S/F
Baird's Sandpiper: F
Pectoral Sandpiper: F
Dunlin: S/F
Buff-breasted Sandpiper: F
Short-billed Dowitcher: S
Long-billed Dowitcher: F
Wilson's Snipe: S/F
American Woodcock: S
Red Phalarope: F
Parasitic Jaeger: S/F
Long-tailed Jaeger: F

Franklin's Gull: F
Little Gull: S
Bonaparte's Gull: S/F
Ring-billed Gull: S/F
Herring Gull: S/F
Iceland Gull: S/F
Glaucous Gull: S/F
Great Black-backed Gull: S/F
Black-legged Kittiwake: F
Sabine's Gull: F
Caspian Tern: S/F
Common Tern: S/F
Forster's Tern: F
Rock Pigeon: Summer
Mourning Dove: S/F
Black-billed Cuckoo: F
Yellow-billed Cuckoo: F
Great Horned Owl: S
Snowy Owl: S
Northern Hawk Owl: F

Barred Owl: S/F
Great Gray Owl: S
Long-eared Owl: S/F
Short-eared Owl: S/F
Boreal Owl: S/F
Northern Saw-whet Owl: S/F
Common Nighthawk: S/F
Whip-poor-will: S
Chimney Swift: S/F
Ruby-throated Hummingbird: S/F
Belted Kingfisher: S/F
Red-headed Woodpecker: S
Red-bellied Woodpecker: S/F
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker: S/F
Downy Woodpecker: S/F
Hairy Woodpecker: F
Black-backed Woodpecker: S/F

Northern Flicker: S/F
Pileated Woodpecker: S/F
Olive-sided Flycatcher: F
Eastern Wood-Pewee: S
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher: S/F
Alder Flycatcher: S/F
Least Flycatcher: S/F
Eastern Phoebe: S/F
Great-crested Flycatcher: S
Eastern Kingbird: S
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher: F

Northern Shrike: S/F
Blue-headed Vireo: S/F
Philadelphia Vireo: S
Red-eyed Vireo: S/F
Blue Jay: S/F
American Crow: S/F
Common Raven: S/F
Horned Lark: S/F
Tree Swallow: S/F
Northern Rough-winged Swallow: S
Bank Swallow: S/F
Barn Swallow: S/F
Cliff Swallow: S/F
Tufted Titmouse: F

Black-capped Chickadee: S/F
Boreal Chickadee: S
Red-breasted Nuthatch: S/F
White-breasted Nuthatch: S/F
Brown Creeper: S/F
House Wren: F
Winter Wren: S/F
Golden-crowned Kinglet: S/F
Ruby-crowned Kinglet: S/F
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher: S/F
Eastern Bluebird: S
Veery: S/F
Gray-cheeked Thrush: S/F
Swainson's Thrush: S/F
Hermit Thrush: S/F
American Robin: S/F
Gray Catbird: S/F
Northern Mockingbird: S
Brown Thrasher: S/F
European Starling: S/F
American Pipit: S/F
Bohemian Waxwing: S/F

Cedar Waxwing: S/F
Tennessee Warbler: S/F
Orange-crowned Warbler: S/F
Nashville Warbler: S/F
Northern Parula: S/F
Yellow Warbler: S/F
Chestnut-sided Warbler: S/F
Magnolia Warbler: S/F
Cape May Warbler: S/F
Black-throated Blue Warbler: S/F
Yellow-rumped Warbler Warbler: S/F
Black-throated Green Warbler: S/F
Blackburnian Warbler: S/F

Pine Warbler: S/F W
Palm Warbler: S/F
Bay-breasted Warbler: S/F
Blackpoll Warbler: S/F
Black & White Warbler: S/F
American Redstart: S/F
Ovenbird: S/F
Northern Waterthrush: S/F
Connecticut Warbler: F
Mourning Warbler: S/F
Common Yellowthroat: S/F
Wilson's Warbler: S/F
Canada Warbler: F
Scarlet Tanager: S/F
American Tree Sparrow: S/F
Chipping Sparrow: S/F
Clay-colored Sparrow: S/F
Field Sparrow: S
Vesper Sparrow: S/F
Savannah Sparrow: S/F
Fox Sparrow: S/F
Song Sparrow: S/F
Lincoln's Sparrow: S/F
Swamp Sparrow: S/F
White-throated Sparrow: S/F
White-crowned Sparrow: S/F
Dark-eyed Junco: S/F
Lapland Longspur: S/F
Snow Bunting: S/F

Northern Cardinal: S/F
Rose-breasted Grosbeak: S/F
Indigo Bunting: S
Dickcissel: F
Bobolink: S/F
Red-winged Blackbird: S/F
Yellow-headed Blackbird: S
Rusty Blackbird: S/F
Brewer's Blackbird: F
Common Grackle: S/F
Brown-headed Cowbird: S
Baltimore Oriole: S
Pine Grosbeak: S/F
Purple Finch: S/F
House Finch: F
Red Crossbill: S/F
White-winged Crossbill: S/F
Common Redpoll: S/F
Hoary Redpoll: S

Pine Siskin: S/F
American Goldfinch: S/F
Evening Grosbeak: S/F
House Sparrow: F
Eurasian Tree Sparrow: S
While the blogs don't get a lot of comments posted on them I'd like to thank the many visitors who have expressed their appreciation of them. Without these compliments we would really wonder if anyone was reading them. Thanks folks.
Chris Neri

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Highlights: White-winged Crossbill, Pine Grosbeak

It was again a beautiful day at the Point. A White-winged Crossbill that was coming in to the feeders yesterday was there again today. While we can get large flights of crossbills it is rare for one to come in to the feeders. As I was photographing the crossbill it very unexpectedly came and landed on my camera lens. The Common Redpolls began moving in earnest today, but only a few are coming to feeders. The majority are eating catkins from the alders and birches or seeds from the Jack Pine cones. The below photos show Common Redpolls eating the seeds and fighting over a pine cone. There were also a few Pine Grosbeaks present again today, but no waxwings were present.There was a Great Black-backed Gull at the harbor this morning.

Chris Neri

Monday, November 9, 2009

Bohemian Waxwing

Hilghlights: Wolf & Sharp-tailed Grouse

Tom & Don Jennette saw a Wolf from the waterbird shack this morning. As I have yet to see more than tracks in Michigan I am very jealous. Tom will post photos to the waterbird blog. It was another beautiful day and there was a very nice mix of late season birds around. It's pretty amazing to see Sharp-tailed & Spruce Grouse, Bohemian Waxwings, Pine Grosbeak, Common Redpoll, White-winged & Red Crossbills on a day in November when temperatures hit the mid 50's. There was also a Yellow-rumped Warbler in with the Bohemians all of which were actively flycatching. Definitely not a typical November day, hope it keeps up.

Pine Grosbeak
Chris Neri

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Bohemian Waxwing
Highlights: Pine Grosbeak, Bohemian Waxwing, Common Redpoll

While overall activity was somewhat slow it was an absolutely beautiful day and some good birds were around. The 1st Pine Grosbeaks of the season arrived, a flock of about 70 Bohemian Waxwings were around, and Common Redpolls finally found the feeders. There continues to be hundreds of American Goldfinch along with Pine Siskin and Purple Finch at the feeders. Other sightings included Ruffed Grouse, Northern Goshawk, Merlin, Red-winged Blackbird, and Snow Bunting. The King Eider that was present at the river mouth the last two days was not seen today.

Common Redpoll, Pine Siskin, and
part of an American Goldfinch

Chris Neri

Friday, November 6, 2009

King Eider
Highlights: King Eider at the river mouth
A King Eider was found at the Tahquameon River mouth this morning and was still present at nightfall. Also present at the river mouth were Tundra Swan, Long-tailed Duck, Mallard,
Black Duck, Common Goldeneye, and Bufflehead. Sightings in the woods at the Point included Snow Bunting, Fox Sparrow, Evening Grosbeak, Red Crossbill, and lots of Pine Siskin, and American Goldfinch.

Tundra Swans
Snow Bunting

Chris Neri

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Spruce Grouse

Highlights:Spruce Grouse & Bohemian Waxwing

Well it's November at that Point and the snow squalls and late season birds have begun to arrive. Evening Grosbeaks have become regular at the feeders and the numbers of Purple Finch, Pine Siskin, and American Goldfinch have also increased there. There has also been several sightings of Bohemian Waxwing, Common Redpoll, and Spruce Grouse. Other sighitngs have included Copper's Hawk, Northern Goshawk, Merlin, Barn Swallow, Northern Shrike, Winter Wren, Brown Thrasher, Fox Sparrow, Snow Bunting, Northern Cardinal, and White-winged Crossbill.

Brown Thrasher

Glaucous Gull

Chris Neri

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Highlights: Western Grebe (photo above), Northern Cardinal
We've been experiencing some extreme weather lately, not to mention a 14 hour power outage yesterday. While the activity in the woods has been slow there have been some good sightings. Certainly one of the birds of the season was the Western Grebe found by Jason Bojczyk at the harbor today. It's a good time of year for gulls and multiple Great Black-backed Gulls and a Glaucous Gull were present. The season's first Northern Cardinal spent the day at the feeders and we have continued seeing an increase in the number of American Tree Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos. We're set to get a little break in this weather tomorrow, hopefully there will be another surprise.

Glaucous Gull

Chris Neri

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Surf Scoter, Black Scoter, Greater Scaup &
Green-winged Teal (click to enlarge)

Northern Pintail, eider, and
White-winged Scoter (click to enlarge)

Highlights: eider, Northern Shrike, Black-backed Woodpecker

For the second day in a row an eider was seen at the waterbird count. Today's eider is the middle bird in the bottom photo. This photo will need to be reviewed by the records committee to see if it can be pinned to a species. There are aspects of its shape which may suggest Common, but we're still searching for photos of King and Common in flight for comparison before we can even convince ourselves.. From left to right the upper photo shows one Surf Scoter, 6 Black Scoters, 4 Greater Scaup, 1 Green-winged Teal, and 6 more Greater Scaup, you may have to scroll the photo to see all the birds. The Northern Shrike I color banded last Wednesday was seen again today for the 1st time since Thursday. While there was no change in species diversity the woods were more active today than they have been recently. There was a big increase in the number of American Tree Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, and American Goldfinch. There were also more Golden-crowned and Ruby-crowned Kinglets then there has been the last few days. Other sightings included American Golden-Plover, Brown Creeper, both nuthatches, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Hermit Thrush, Fox and White-crowned Sparrows, Red Crossbill, Purple Finch, and Pine Siskin

Chris Neri

Monday, October 26, 2009

Long-eared Owl

Highlights: Long-eared Owl, Gray Catbird

There was no major change in the birding activity on Saturday or Sunday. While Tim and Britta have banded one Long-eared Owl this season one found yesterday was the 1st to found during the day this season . Snow Bunting and Tree Sparrow numbers continue to increase. A Gray Catbird continues in the area behind the feeders. The Northern Shrike we color banded last week has moved on, but another one made an appearance yesterday. Northern Goshawks continue to make daily appearances and there was a small push of Rough-legged Hawks yesterday. Other birds seen over the weekend included Wilson's Snipe, Red-breasted and White-breasted Nuthatches, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Cedar Waxwing, White-crowned Sparrow, Red Crossbill, Pine Siskin, American Goldfinch, and Evening Grosbeak.

Northern Goshawk
Chris Neri

Friday, October 23, 2009

Ruffed Grouse
Highlights: Northern Parula, Gray Catbird

We get the occasional straggling warbler this time of year and a Northern Parula seen today was a pleasant surprise. The only other warbler species seen today was Yellow-rumped, which is obviously much more expected at this date. At least two Blue-gray Gnatcatchers continued. It just seems wrong to see these guys this late in the year, but they have also been present late into the last two falls. While the Pine Siskins have disappeared the numbers of American Tree Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, and Snow Bunting have been on the rise. Other sightings toady included Red-breasted and White-breasted Nuthatches, Golden-crowned and Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Gray Catbird, Fox Sparrow, Purple Finch, and Evening Grosbeak.

Gray Catbird

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Chris Neri

I covered the waterbird count for Tom today, but there were some decent sightings yesterday and today. We've been curious as to how long individual Northern Shrikes stage here so we color banded one yesterday. The photos above show it in hand on Wednesday and on one of the Sharpy sticks today. You can see the standard alluminum band and the red color band on it's right leg in the lower photo. If you come to the Point and see a shrike look for bands and please let us know if you see any. The season's first Red-bellied Woodpecker also made an appearance on the Sharpy stick today. Other recent sightings include Sharp-shinned Hawk, Northern Goshawk, Brown Creeper, both kinglets, Winter Wren, Hermit Thrush, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Snow Bunting, Horned Lark, Lapland Longspur, Savannah, American Tree, Fox, and White-Crowned Sparrows, Evening Grosbeak, Pine Siskin, and White-winged Crossbill.

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Chris Neri

Monday, October 19, 2009

Dickcissel photo by Kirk Zufelt
Highlights: Dickcissel

A Dickcissel was present around the feeders today along with 3 House Sparrows, which are actually uncommon here. There was also a significant increase in the numbers of Pine Siskin and Purple Finch around the feeders today. There were again good numbers of Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers present. Other sightings included Red-breasted and White-breasted Nuthatch, Golden-crowned and Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Hermit Thrush, Cedar Waxwing, Yellow-rumped Warbler, American Tree Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, and Evening Grosbeak.

Northern Goshawk

Chris Neri

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Evening Grosbeak

Highlights: Bohemian Waxwing

The woods were fairly active early this morning, but strong southwest winds picked up and activity dropped off significantly later in the morning. We continue to see large numbers of Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers. Evening Grosbeak, Purple Finch and Pine Siskin numbers have continued to increase and the first Bohemian Waxwings showed up yesterday.Other sightings included Golden-crowned and Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Hermit Thrush, Yellow-rumped Warbler, American Tree Sparrow, and Rusty Blackbird. Tim and Britta also banded the 2nd Boreal Owl of the season last night.

Swamp Sparrow

Chris Neri

Friday, October 16, 2009

Tufted Titmouse
Highlights: Tufted Titmouse, Northern Shrike

Despite the fact that east winds have really slowed the songbird activity down the last few days the Point's first ever Tufted Titmouse was found today. It made several appearances near the waterbird shack before disappearing during the last few hours of the count. Northern Shrikes have been making some brief appearances the last few days. While overall activity has been down, there has been large numbers of Downy Woodpeckers, decent numbers of Hairies, and a few Black-backed Woodpeckers. The trees near the waterbird shack can be crawling with woodpeckers at times and the Downies have occasionally been landing on the shack, our tripods, and our scopes (photo below). We also continue seeing White-breasted Nuthatch and Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. The Evening Grosbeak numbers continue to grow slightly and they are being seen at the feeders fairly regularly.

The Merlin has regularly been observed catching the Downies. It's hard to see in the photo but a Downy is tucked onto the left side of the driftwood in the above photo. The Merlin had been chasing it along the bayshore, but it made it to the safety of the driftwood where it remained for about 1/2 hour after the Merlin left.

Perhaps most entertaining was Tom repeatedly holding up a stick when a wave of Downies and Hairies flew out towards us in hopes of having one land on it. No takers yet, but there's always tomorrow buddy.

Chris Neri

Monday, October 12, 2009

7 Black-bellied Plovers,
American Golden-Plover (top center) &
Long-billed Dowitcher (middle bird)
Long-billed Dowitcher
Highlights: Long-billed Dowitcher, Gray Catbird
Once again the highlight came out at the tip when a Long-billed Dowitcher made multiple passes of the tip with a group of plovers. We were extremely surprised that despite a bunch of very low passes they didn't put down in the large pool of water currently flooding the tip, but were extremely thankful that the bird called on one of the passes. This is just the 2nd fall record and 4th overall for WPBO.
Activity in the woods remained very similar to that of the last couple days. The Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Gray Catbird and Magnolia Warbler were present again today. Other sightings included Pileated Woodpecker, Red-breasted and White-breasted Nuthatches, Golden-crowned and Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Brown Creeper, Hermit Thrush, Orange-crowned, Yellow-rumped and Palm Warblers, American Tree, Savannah, Swamp, Lincoln's, White-throated and White-crowned Sparrows, Dark-eyed Junco, Lapland Longspur, Rusty Blackbird, Red Crossbill, and Pine Siskin.

Hermit Thrush

Chris Neri