What We Do Waterbird Watch
Top Ten Species and Total for All Species
Red-breasted Merganser - 32,331
Bonaparte's Gull - 15,301
Greater Scaup - 14,246
Herring Gull - 14,253
Common Tern - 13,266
Ring-billed Gull -12,351
Double-crested Cormorant - 5,967
Long-tailed Duck - 5,548
Lesser Scaup - 5,037
Common Loon - 4,240
Total for all species - 151,874
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:
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:
The Waterbird Watch got started with a bang the first week of September with sightings of both a Parasitic Jaeger and a Neotropic Cormorant. Neotropic Cormorants are seldom seen beyond their northernmost range of Texas and, occasionally, the Great Plains. More recently, WGLBBO technician Calvin Brennan spotted an Arctic Tern, another bird seldom seen in this area.
A cool fact: "In Mexico, Neotropic Cormorants reportedly often fish cooperatively, forming a line across swift-flowing streams and striking the surface with their wings, causing fish to flee, whereupon the cormorants dive and pursue them." www.allaboutbirds.org
Calvin will continue conducting daily counts at the watch site at Harrington Beach State Park through December 5. A wonderful new development for this fall was the construction of a permanent blind for the Watch, which was installed by the Harrington Beach State Park staff. This brings our operation to yet another milestone.
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 this fall for six hours per day, Monday through Saturday, starting at dawn.
Final results of the 2017 fall Waterbird Watch will be shared in our January/February newsletter, as well as why unusual migrants are putting in a more frequent appearance in our area.