This April 30 - May 1 marks the 28th annual WPBO Spring Fling, when members and their guests “migrate” to Paradise, Michigan and the Whitefish Point area to visit with old friends, both human and avian. Many activities have been planned for another refreshing weekend of birding experiences. Registration coming soon!
Whitefish Point provides a phenomenal concentration spot for migrant birds. Here, land and water features create a natural migration corridor. Tens of thousands of birds are funneled to the Point every Spring and Fall while migrating through the Great Lakes region. For over 30 years, Whitefish Point Bird Observatory has been monitoring and documenting these annual migrations. Our mission is to document the distribution and abundance of birds in the Great Lakes Region, with special emphasis on migration.
With the spring hawk count starting today, March 15th, we want to introduce Bret Davis who joins us from Bozeman Montana. Bret has his Masters of Science, Physics, from Montana State University so take this into account when he may say he supports MSU! His many interests will keep him busy with hiking, camping and even Archeo-astronomy if he has border papers allowing him to get to the other side of Whitefish Bay. Bret has been at the Bridger Ridge Hawk Watch for the last three autumns and says he is accustom to isolated conditions and has a sense of humor which may serve him well those first few weeks at the point.
It was another crazy birding day - the night before a strong cold front moved through, and the rain changed into what waterbird counter Eric Ripma called "a bit breezy." Well, it was actually more of a straight-out hurricane. Given the change in weather, waterfowl was on the move. But they passed the Point as if they were shot out of a canon, given their tremendous tail wind. Long-tailed Ducks were numerous, and there were some Scoters moving as well.
Our brief Searching for Spruce Grouse tour has just one goal: find and get good looks at one or more Spruce Grouse. This is a post-Spring Fling event, happening this year on April 27th. We met in the parking area behind the Paradise Inn, where two things happened. First, a cooperative Merlin flew in and perched high in a tree to the north, allowing us to get good scope views. Second, we were tipped off to the presence of two female Spruce Grouse along the edge of M-123 just west of town. We quickly headed that way.