Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Jaegerfest


Parasitic Jaeger, Wisconsin Point, Douglas County, WI
Myself, spouse and good friends attended the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology sponsored Jaegerfest this weekend in Superior, WI.  I attend this event as much for the people as the birds. It seems to be a great opportunity to re-unite with birder friends as well as put faces to all the personalities that post on the Wisconsin Birding List.  

We stayed at the Super 8 in Superior which is minutes from Wisconsin Point.  All in all the motel was clean, but nothing spectacular. It definitely met our needs as a simple place to get a good night's rest since the beds seemed newer and were actually quite comfortable.  Also, Gronk's Grill and Bar is located next door, so if you are one of those people who bird by day and drink beer by night, aka "beer birding," this motel appears to be suited to such activities.  The continental breakfast warrants an honorable mention too for it's good selection of tasty homemade sweetbreads.


Part of the "Beer-birding" contingency
"Beer-birders" setting up to see some birds

The weekend in a nutshell....

Line of birders intently focused on seeing jaegers

After withstanding two days of either blustery NW winds and rain which caused expensive optics to take "headers" in the sand or frigid morning temps with lackluster distant showings of Parasitic Jaegers and Sabine's gulls that I never saw....FINALLY Sunday morning delivered the stuff Jaegerfest is made of.  Our group was among the small number of remaining birders on Sunday morning who were holding out hope for a spectacular jaeger showing.  Our "jaeger whispering" antics involving shots of jagermeister
the night before apparently paid off.  We were rewarded by the birding gods with near-range repeated Parasitic Jaeger flybys, acrobatic sparring between the jaeger and various gulls and long satisfying looks of said bird resting on the water offshore. 


Scenes from the weekend...

Gull flight at dawn


Wisconsin Point Lighthouse shrouded in a Sunday morning fog

 The star of the show...
Parasitic Jaeger
Parasitic Jaeger chasing Ring-billed Gull
The supporting actors...
American Pipits commonly landed on the beach.

Franklin's Gull
Harris' Sparrow



Red-breasted Merganser





Yellow Warbler
Palm Warbler
Bonaparte's Gull


The people...

Tom Schulz, our trip leader, with Seth Cutright
Seth Cutright, Daryl Tessen and the ever popular, Tom Prestby
Dawn stake out for jaegers and rare gulls

Peter Bridge, Tim Hahn and Tom Prestby wondering, "Where are those Jaegers???"



After two days without seeing a jaeger, Paula was getting a little cranky:)

Tim showing frustration after not seeing any jaegers for 2 days!
Dinner at Grizzly's, a nightly event during Jaegerfest