Posted by: jasonbojczyk | 12 November 2014

Impressive Waterbird Flight

11-10 Raptors: 0

11-11 Raptors: 2

Sharp-shinned Hawk-1

Northern Harrier-1

11-12 Raptors: 2

Bald Eagle-1

Broad-winged Hawk-1

Though I knew it was coming I still didn’t expect it to get as cold as it did today on the tower. It was completely overcast the whole day with strong NNE winds and temperatures steady at 50 degrees, feeling like lower to mid-forties. These brutal conditions sure reminded me of places up north! The waterbird flight today was pretty amazing though. It was a steady flight for 7 hours, but most of the geese came in the first 3 hours of the count. Perhaps the most amazing thing about today’s flight was the unprecedented number of Killdeer-over 500 headed past the tower!!! This is by far the most I’ve ever seen in a day, let alone as a clear, obvious movement of the species. The flight lines were both in front of and behind the tower. Scaup were persistent throughout the count and could always be seen sitting or flying over the bays. It was definitely a day that takes a toll on the eyes as I didn’t have a single scan without a new bird until the 7th hour. Notables at Smith Point today included Common Goldeneye, Hooded Merganser, Marbled Godwit, and Sprague’s Pipit. Notably absent for a day like today were numbers of Greater White-fronted Geese (just 2 flocks), Robins, Sparrows, Blackbirds, and Finches. All-in-all fantastic day and here’s today’s (mostly) waterbird numbers. All numbers are from the tower unless otherwise indicated.

Total: 8,065 (mostly) waterbirds

Greater White-fronted Goose-111

Snow Goose-3,181

Ross’s Goose-87

Snow/Ross’s Goose-611


Mottled Duck-2 (not from tower)

Northern Shoveler-14

Dabbler Species-23


Greater Scaup-17

Lesser Scaup-206

Scaup Species-1,560

Aythya Species-366

Common Goldeneye-3

Hooded Merganser-4 (not from tower)

Red-breasted Merganser-32

Duck Species-134

Common Loon-3

American White Pelican-41

Brown Pelican-100+

Neotropic Cormorant-1

Double-crested Cormorant-2

Cormorant Species-100+

Great Blue Heron-4 (half from tower)

Great Egret-3 (not from tower)

Snowy Egret-4 (1 from tower)

White Ibis-11

Plegadis Species-16

Black-bellied Plover-3 (1 from tower)

Semipalmated Plover-1

Killdeer-521!!! (comprised of 48 different flocks)

American Oystercatcher-4 (half from tower)

Black-necked Stilt-2 (not from tower)

Spotted Sandpiper-3

Greater Yellowlegs-2

Willet-12 (2 from tower)

Marbled Godwit-1

Ruddy Turnstone-20+ (not from tower)

Sanderling-1 (not from tower)

Least Sandpiper-4 (not from tower)


Wilson’s Snipe-5

Shorebird Species-14

Laughing Gull-150+ (most from tower)

Ring-billed Gull-9 (7 from tower)

Herring Gull-1

Caspian Tern-1

Forster’s Tern-20+

Royal Tern-2

Tern Species-9

Tree Swallow-600+

American Pipit-2

Sprague’s Pipit-1

Some poor photos documenting today:

The day's lone raptor highlight

The day’s lone raptor highlight

One of the larger Scaup flocks

One of the larger Scaup flocks

One of the 48 flocks of Killdeer

One of the 48 flocks of Killdeer

Snow Geese

Snow Geese

Northern Shovelers

Northern Shovelers

Common Goldeneye

Common Goldeneye

Hooded Mergansers

Hooded Mergansers

One of at least 2 Long-tailed Skippers that were around yesterday. Prior to this cold front 15+ butterfly species was regular in recent days

One of at least 2 Long-tailed Skippers that were around yesterday. Prior to this cold front 15+ butterfly species were regular around the tower in recent days



  1. I don’t envy your job today,although you did see some good birds!

  2. Good luck Jason, have a great winter! Thanks for all your daily counts and your interesting notes about the days.

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