- A report from Paul Spitzer's loon observations:
This was an optimal flight day, with very light winds and clear skies. The dawn flights are still building right now. I counted 14 before sunrise est. 7:22. Then 66 in the next 20 minutes, including extended flocks of 10 (7:30-7:31), 9 (7:32), and 12 (7:37). I think these result from night-rafts, some or all of which commit to go simultaneously. I term these "loonbursts", and they are typical of a big flight day.
Then for the next 40 minutes only 11 birds, many of them high, suggesting they were from farther out on the Gulf and had already gained some elevation. The early, clustered flights suggested staging relatively close to shore, and social stimulation. Watching from several miles to the East, Nick heard tremolo-calling from some of these birds, contact calls which are social stimulation. His final count was 85: No doubt much overlap with me, but some clearly not. I am trying to get him a stronger radio so we can better quantify our comparisons. I don't have Bob's report from Live Oak Is. yet today, which is a separate tally: 6 miles to the west with essentially no visual overlap; and usually fairly similar to my total count. Our counts are additive to a grand daily total.
A couple days of high wind from NE and NW are forecast for late in the week. These would be on the "bow quarter" of migrating loons, much lateral and/or headwind energy, possibly disruptive, and we shall be watching. I will stay with the daily observations until the counts subside below 15-20. Since the flights started late this year, we cannot predict their duration.
Visitors are welcome, PAUL cell 410-253-3974