Wednesday, October 12, 2011

An Epic Chase

Who would leave Lansing at 2:30am, drive (or ride technically) 5 hours to Whitefish Point to be there by sunrise, stand at the point all day hoping a certain bird flys by (Gannet *cough cough*), then ride back to Lansing? THIS guy! I hopped a ride with Adam, Caleb and Rick and so started the "Northern Gannet at WPBO" chase that will be remembered forever.

We got to WPBO before sunrise and hit the point, where a few other birders joined us. There was an impressive loon flight, mostly Common but respectable numbers of Red-throated, and a pretty decent Aythya flight as well. As great as it was watching the duck/loon flight, the number of Northern Gannets in the first few hours was 0. Eventually the flight died, as did our optimism that the bird would show. 2pm went by, the time when the Gannet was seen the day before we were there, and still no bird.

At this time, most of us had resorted to throwing stones at a hole in a stump near the waterbird shack, or throwing stones to see who could throw further, or throwing stones at further out driftwood, or throwing up rocks and trying to hit them with other rocks before the first rock hit the ground. There was one person, however, who did not participate in the games, but continued to intently scan the horizon. His name was Adam.

While I was (ashamedly) lying on my back on the gravel, fighting off fatigue and playing with my phone, Adam jumped up to his scope. Seconds later, "GOT IT!" was yelled, and stones were put down and every eye was on every scope. The glorious beast that is the Northern Gannet was shearwatering across the horizon, providing distant, but identifiable looks. This was at 4:35pm. 

We came, we saw, we conquered, and then we ate victory pizza. Victory pizza is pizza you eat to celebrate a great victory, and if there was ever a time for victory pizza, it was now. We absolutely demolished 2 large pizzas from B.C. pizza in St. Ignace in a matter of minutes. We then settled in for a long ride/drive back to Lansing, where I slept for a good 12 hours before starting the next day.

Overall, it was a gorgeous day on Lake Superior, with good company and good birds as well. Now, time to crack down and finish studying for the GRE next week... unless something else rare shows up.


  1. Excellent work gentlemen. I literally left the point 20 minutes before it was resighted on Monday. Total bummer.

  2. We've never driven to Whitefish Point for a bird sighting, but we've driven up twice to see the northern lights! I'm so glad you got your bird!!