The count begins! Migration has been relatively slow, possibly due to weather conditions (south winds and thunderstorms have dominated this period, but then again a cold front went through on the 31st and failed to produce any sort of a migration) or the warm temperatures further north have encouraged migrants to linger a bit longer before moving south.
Blue-winged Teal: 533 on the 25th was impressive considering no other day in this period broke 100.
Great Egret: Nine were recorded during this period including a flock of 6 on the 24th.
Shorebirds: 14 species have been recorded thus far including a single adult Black-bellied Plover on the 24-25, and three Piping Plovers on the 20th. Surprisingly the Piping Plovers were not from the Great Lakes population but from the Dakotas!
Uncommon at this time of year were eleven American Avocets and 14 Willets (getting late) that flew by over the course of the day on the 25th. Five Buff-breasted Sandpipers and 10 Baird’s Sandpipers were recorded during this period.
Gull Types: Jaegers are just starting to move with two Parasitic and a Jaeger sp. on the 28th, the only day with any jaegers thus far this season.
Two Lesser Black-backed Gulls on the 21st were dramatically early.
Common Terns have been moving through in below average numbers with the 485 recorded during this period well below the three year average (for this period) of 1,796. As expected Black Tern numbers peaked in the first couple days of the count with high counts of 87 and 77 which is on par with past seasons. Black Terns are an early migrant, and away from the breeding grounds are a pelagic species and on Lake Michigan generally stay well offshore during the fall which negatively effects counting them from shore.
Non-waterbirds included Osprey, five Bald Eagles, two Peregrine Falcons (one adult, one banded juvenile), 4 Purple Martins, and single Cape May and Mourning Warblers.