2013 and beyond

It's pretty simple: the most birds seen or heard from one's yard during 2013 will be the "winner". Want in? O.k....then do it despite that.

2013 promises to be a lot less mean but still a carbon-free birding competition, even if slightly less exciting than a MEGA x EPIC hybrid.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


thats how many LTDU flew past the liar in one hour tonight. You can see it on Nexrad from the MQT station just before dusk. Check out line that develops north of Little Bay de Noc, after dark it is obliterated by birds taking off from the UP, showing a perfect outline of the south shore of Lake Superior. Another cool aspect of this flight is that after dark (10pm) the LTDUs start flying over the house (almost constant calling) so instead of going north they fly NW.

The Gaylord station recorded a massive flight after dusk, lots of translake migrants last night.

I've tried to upload video of the flight but the resolution here is not the best.


  1. WOW. At Tawas lsat weekend were hundreds of LTDU offshore and in the bay, and it got me wondering how many still remain in the Great lakes and when they were getting ready to head north. This answers the question in part. This also might be a good way to start estimating the actual # of wintering birds using the lakes. I think it must be in the high 6 figures if not 7 figures, and I even wonder if it isn't the largest concentration of this species in the world? Where else do you know of 6 figures of wintering LTDU?

  2. When birds fly by the liar, it's always hard to believe.

  3. Bwewwews, is the misspelling "liar" intentional? It might be halfway accurate?!?? The Swamp Liar. Hehehehe...

  4. It's O.K. Sparrow-boy I often misspell liar myself.

    In the end I did a back of the envelop caculation of 64,000 LTDU that night when I went to beg at 11 am. Who know how long the flight lasted but have seen birds flying all week. I think Bay de Noc is a big deal for LTDU. Maybe next year I'll invest in some portable radar, we need to take this up a notch, don't you think??

  5. Out of curiosity, how do you do that calculation?

  6. Here's my methodology as posted to our local list-serve - the final estimate will also be based on the other counters rate of passage.


    An interesting aspect of the LTDU flight yesterday is that during
    daylight birds stay over Little Bay de Noc heading north and gaining
    altitude - NEXRAD radar showed them continuing north from Rapid River towards Lake Superior. After dark, there seems to be more flexibility as birds head inland in a northwest direction - I could hear constant calling as birds flew over Portage Marsh to the NW. After dark (~10pm) the ability to detect the ducks on radar ended as the passerine migration lit up the radar across the region (the migration of birds from the offshore islands in the NLP was exceptional).

    After I got a call from Louie I started counting and estimated
    Long-tails were passing at a rate of approximately 15,600 an hour (counted in 5 minute blocks), NEXRAD indicates the flight began roughly at 7pm so 3 hours X 15,600 birds/hour, plus the nocturnal flight lasting at least 1 hour = 62,400. Given that Portage Marsh is 6 miles from PP it begs the question how many of the ducks were shared between the two stations?!

  7. so here is another data point- Louie & I were standing on the lighthouse at Peninsula Point also counting Long-tailed Ducks. It was simply stupendous! I counted first by singles, jumped to by 10s, then quickly to by 25's. In one hour's time at PP, Louie and I had 11,338 LTDUs wing by going up both the Bay De Nocs!Pretty Crazy!


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