[The Chesapeake Baywatch is conducted daily from Civil Dawn until midday from an elevated bluff located north of Kiptopeke State Park. All species moving both into and out of the Bay are identified, counted, and recorded.]
Common Loons have started to play a key role in the migration this week, with good numbers both migrating past and sitting around on the water. In the early morning, occasionally one of the small foraging groups will break off a yodel or two – always a wonderful sound. A few Red-throated Loons have been detected migrating past already, but that species still has a few weeks before their peak.
All three scoter species put in appearances during the week, but the numbers have been massively dominated by Surf, followed by Black, and then finally with a few White-wings thrown in. One of the interesting parts of a seawatching season is the timing differences between Surf and Black Scoter movements. Typically, one species dominates and then the other. The ratio often flip-flops a few times throughout the migration.
Dabbling duck numbers have been relatively small but with good diversity. Northern Pintail continue to be seen both peppering scoter flocks and in larger homogenous flocks, as do American Wigeon. Green-winged Teal, as is expected, are becoming the most common dabbler over the Bay.
An American Coot flew past with a small group of scoters on 22 Oct. The presence of the species on the Eastern Shore is certainly not shocking, but what was surprising was that this species migration past during the day, a very infrequent sight.
Another highlight of the period was the first Brant of the season on 24 October.
Migration continues to increase in the Bay, and this should keep up for the next month!