Whitefish Point woke up to snow yet again, this time about an inch coating all the trees, veg, and cars. The hike out to the waterbird shack was all white and green:
The weather today was brutal once again which probably accounts for the lack of tourists (I didn't see a single one today). The temperature ranged from 33 to 41 degrees and winds continued to be strong out of the northwest. The first several hours were filled with heavy snow showers which limited visibility; at times I couldn't even see the water. The lake-effect snow rolled through in waves all day but we also had short clearings in between bands. Here's the shack with the next band coming in behind it:
Compared to past days, the count today was pretty unimpressive (<1000 birds). I had next to no dabblers and even my LONG-TAILED DUCK numbers were way down (307, but still my most numerous species). I had a decent flight of BUFFLEHEAD (63) but COMMON GOLDENEYE still numbered fewer than 10. I finally snagged my first HOODED MERGANSER of the fall today too. I was starting to think I was going to miss it this season!
In terms of scoters, I had 41 WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS and 6 BLACK SCOTERS. I had both species of loons today but fewer than 15 total. A few RED-NECKED GREBES were being pushed out too, I had 64 today.
The only shorebird today was presumably the same GREATER YELLOWLEGS that was present yesterday.
The highlight today was my first-of-the-fall GLAUCOUS GULL that was roosting at the tip with the other gulls:
When I was out there scoping gulls, I also came across this banded HERRING GULL:
You can see it has a metal band on the lower right and a blue band on the lower left. Anyone out there know who might be banding Herring Gulls?
Other than the waterbirds, I didn't see much activity out at the waterbird shack besides the omnipresent SNOW BUNTINGS, LAPLAND LONGSPURS, and HORNED LARKS. There were also a couple of AMERICAN TREE SPARROWS working some grassy patches at the tip along with two different ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKS that migrated overhead.
This weather pattern is holding and we're supposed to get more of the same nasty weather tomorrow; frequent lake-effect snow/rain showers coming out of the northwest.
Before I forget, a couple of days ago I posted a picture of a woodpecker tail as a photo quiz. Separating between DOWNY WOODPECKER and HAIRY WOODPECKER by the outer tail feathers is really quite easy. If it has black spotting, it's a DOWNY. If it lacks that spotting, it's a HAIRY. So, in this case it was a HAIRY WOODPECKER that I photographed behind the gift shop.