The migration during this period was steady, but slightly below the three-year average.
Loons & Grebes: Pied-billed, Horned, and Red-necked Grebes were seen in average numbers though this period. Red-necked had a high of 4 on the 20th. Common Loon had season high of 70 on the 20th. Red-throated Loons are trickling in and being seen most days (albeit distantly).
Geese & Ducks: Greater White-fronted Geese had a record flight into the state during this period with flocks in the hundreds reported across the lower peninsula. Tiscornia got its share of the flight with 489 between the 16-18th including a high count of 361 on the 17th! These are the first GWFG for Tiscornia since 1998 and easily set a new high count for the county (I believe the previous high count was 37 set back in 2006).
The first good numbers of Scaup pushed through during this period with over 6,000 counted and a high count of 1,791 on the 16th.
All three scoters species were recorded during this period, although as expected Surf Scoter numbers have declined from the first half of the month.
The first Common Goldeneye of the season were recorded on the 31st,
Forty-nine Ruddy Ducks on the 17th represented a new high count for the waterbird count.
Herons: A Green Heron on the 19th was rather late.
Shorebirds: Black-bellied and American Golden Plovers, Lesser Yellowlegs, Sanderling, and Dunlin continued to trickle through in low numbers. New for the fall was an American Woodcock on the 21st.
Gull Types: Three Parasitic Jaegers (including the first adult of the fall) were recorded during this period which is slightly below average for the end of October.
Five Little Gulls (all adult types) were recorded between the 21-28th, including two on the 26th. This is a surprising push considering the low numbers so far this fall and that the average for this period is two.
Bonaparte's Gull had a nice push during this period with over a fourteen hundred counted, including a high of 668 on the 28th. Great and Lesser Black-backed Gulls were the only other gulls of note during this period.
Non-waterbird highlights were few, but notable was presumably the first record of Eastern Screech Owl for Tiscornia on the 19th, Snow Buntings on the 24, and a Eastern Meadowlark on the 19th.
The migration during this period picked up with the arrival of diving ducks driving the bulk of the increase.
Loons & Grebes: One Red-necked Grebe on the 12th was followed by a flock of five on the 13th. Two Pacific Loons on the 1st were the first of the season and a county high count.
Ducks: 604 Blue-winged Teal on the 7th was the only flight during this period and presumably represents the last big push of Blue-wings for the fall.
On schedule were the first Surf Scoters of the fall which arrived on the 5th. Surprising was a 115 Surf Scoters on the 9th (this is nearly half the season totals for 2013 and '14!) which was followed by 191 on the 13th! This is the second highest day count on record for the county and just below the 212 recorded on Oct. 7, 2012 during the first Tiscornia Waterbird Count. White-winged and Black Scoter arrived on the 13th, which is on par with expected arrival dates. What was surprising was the White-winged Scoter count of 56 from the 13th, White-winged Scoters have never been recorded in numbers this high this early in the fall.
Six Ruddy Ducks on the 6th and 12 Bufflehead on the 13th were firsts for the fall.
Shorebirds: Black-bellied and American Golden Plovers, and Sanderling continued, along with the first Dunlin of the fall on the 14th.
Gull Types: One Parasitic Jaeger on the 4th was the only jaeger for this period.
Bonaparte's Gulls numbers increased during this period with a high of 107 on the 13th. Great and Lesser Black-backed Gulls were the only other gulls of note during this period.
Common and Forster's Terns were present through the period in expected numbers. A juvenile Arctic Tern on the 5th was at the late end of the expected window (Sept. 29-Oct 6) for this rare but expected migrant.
Non-waterbird highlights include a Whip-poor-will on the 9th (which flew down the pier and briefly landed as I was walking out to start the count. Second Tiscornia record), Cerulean Warbler on the 6th (first Tiscornia record, likely the bird of the fall), Nelson's Sparrow on the 3rd (chased down and eaten by a Ring-billed Gull as it came in off the lake), Vesper Sparrow, and Rusty Blackbird.
Also of interest was a Spiny Soft-shell Turtle (first Tiscornia record) that was dropped on the pier by a Ring-billed Gull (after I tossed it bread).
The last half felt exceedingly slow, but looking at the data the total for the month (~8,500) is on par with the past three years of the count.
Despite the perceived slowness there were a few interesting sightings.
A Great Egret on the 22nd represented a new late date for the count. Great Blue Herons were seen through the end of the month.
DC Cormorants had a season high count of 510 on the 29th (fun fact, the overall total count for the day was 546 birds...diversity!)
Geese numbers increased during this period and along with the Canada's came the first Snow Goose (white) of the season on the 14th with two more passing by on the 26th.
Blue-winged Teal numbers were above average with 2,046 for the period and a high count of 740 on the 12th.
Along with increasing dabbler numbers the first Redhead, Scaup, and Red-breasted Merganser of the fall arrived during this period.
Shorebird numbers are waning, however two Whimbrel on the 13th were the first (and probably last) of the season. The last Semipalmated Plover of the season occurred on the 26th, while the first Am. Golden Plover of the season arrived on the 22th. Presumably the last Semipalmated Sandpiper was on the 15th with the last Baird's Sandpiper on the 26th .
Three Parasitic Jaegers during this period is on par with past years. New for the season was a young Pomarine Jaeger on the 17th. For the season jaeger numbers are well below expectations and are nearly half the average total for this point in the season.
Three young Sabine's Gulls on the 13th represented both the first of the season and a new county high count! Both Great and Lesser Black-backed Gulls were seen through the end of the month.
Six Black Terns on the 15th were presumably the last of the season and on par with average last recorded dates. Forster's Tern had a high count of 10 on 28th and Common Tern had a high for this period of 179 on the 26th. Caspian Terns were recorded in average numbers through the end of the month.
Non-waterbird highlights include 100+ Swainson's Thrushes on the 18th (several eaten by gulls), Winter, Sedge, and Marsh Wrens, Nelson's Sparrow, Indigo Bunting, and Rusty Blackbird.