Conditions were perfect late this afternoon at Park Point for counting
waterbirds on Lake Superior (ignoring the fact that I had to traverse
several snow drifts and overlook huge piles of snow and ice covering the
beach). The lake surface was calm, and visibility was excellent with
crystal clear air quality. There was only one small fishing boat and no
kayaks, jet skis, or float planes in sight, so none of the birds were
disturbed during nearly 3 hours of counting. My grand total of *2,094
Red-necked Grebes* smashed the previous record of 1,213 at Park Point 28
April 2011 (Loon 83:162). The vast majority were found between Lafayette
Square (31st St) and the bus turn around (43rd St). The grebes were mostly
congregated in several huge rafts; they were calling almost continuously,
but very few were diving, so I am confident in this total -- in fact, there
were several hundred more birds that were too far away to identify and some
(most?) were probably Red-neckeds. Earlier this week, I surveyed the same
Park Point locations twice and found very few grebes, so there must have
been a huge influx of Red-necked Grebes within the past 24 to 48 hours.

Less than 100 Horned Grebes were found today; their numbers are expected to
increase dramatically when the smelt start running in earnest. More than
2,000 diving ducks (Aythya sp. and goldeneyes) were also counted at Park
Point today. Three Red-throated Loons in alternate plumage and a
Long-tailed Duck were observed from Lafayette Square.

Peder H. Svingen
Duluth, MN
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