Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory

Waterbird Watch - Fall 2017

by William P. Mueller

Calvin Brennan has finished his Fall 2017 season as Waterbird Watch technician.

Here are the top ten species tallied at the Waterbird Watch. The season period ran from September 1 to December 5. We stayed at the Watch site longer this fall, due to the reasons mentioned below.

Top Ten Species:

  • Red-breasted Merganser – 157,711
  • Ring-billed Gull – 17,541
  • Double-crested Cormorant – 7,788
  • Herring Gull – 7,007
  • Mallard – 2,303
  • Long-tailed Duck – 1,882
  • Greater Scaup – 2,258
  • Lesser Scaup – 1,179
  • Common Loon – 977

Total of all individuals of all species: 219,747

Total species: 172. This number includes some rare species.  Especially noteworthy species were Harlequin Duck, Neotropic Cormorant, Pomarine Jaeger, Parasitic Jaeger, Black-legged Kittiwake, and Arctic Tern.

The total is the highest out of the past 7 seasons.

Calvin return to start the Spring season on March 1.

Please visit Calvin at the WGLBBO blind just south of the rocky point on the shoreline (south of the main beach). He will be there in spring for six hours per day, Monday through Saturday, starting at dawn.


Changing Migration Timing for Diving Waterfowl

Diving ducks are migrating later, reflecting frequently-delayed freeze-up in areas to the north of us here in Southeast Wisconsin.

Temperatures are staying relatively mild well into late November, with the result that species such as Greater Scaup do not appear in large numbers until December, weeks later than formerly. 

More reading on this topic: