Thursday, August 28, 2014

Grebes, Grebes, and More Grebes

A sunrise at Whitefish Point
The last few days, here at Whitefish Point, have been quite incredible.  Before the 26th, my highest daily total of Red-necked Grebes was 65.  I was happy with a measly 323 Red-necks on the 26th.  If you told me I saw 323 grebes over the last two days, my reaction would be, "yeah, that's a typical hour".  With all the east winds during the first week and a half of the count, I think all these grebes were just held up.  Once the winds started coming out of the NW, the grebes started flowing through.  

The typical, distant view of Red-necked Grebes from Whitefish Point.

So, how many grebes did I count?  1482 Red-necks during the 8 hour count on the 27th.  Another 1410 in 2.5 hours on the evening of the 27th.  And, 2200 in the eight hours of the waterbird count today.  I thought I had seen lots of Red-necked Grebes before I started this count, I definitely hadn't.

One of the Broad-winged Hawks that have been around the point.

Most of the Red-necked Grebes are single species flocks but a handful are more interesting.  Most commonly Blue-winged and Green-winged Teal join the grebe flocks.  Less commonly the grebes join the teal flocks.  And, even less commonly, scoters join in the flocks as well.  A couple times, a Horned Grebe has also joined in with the Red-necks.

Sometimes when you are counting these thousands of birds you wish there were a little more diversity.  Don't worry, Whitefish Point will usually try to satisfy this craving.  Today, a beautiful, adult, Parasitic Jaeger passed closely by the point in the afternoon.  There isn't a better way to top the day than with a jaeger!


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