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Freda         Keweenaw Peninsula

Back in 2001 I started doing occasional fall waterbird counts at Freda.  It was very interesting because all previous counts in the Keweenaw had 90% or more of all waterbirds moving eastward along the shoreline.  These counts had all been done up between Eagle River and Copper Harbor.   But Freda had a whole different movement.  My early counts indicated that somewhere around 1/4 of all migrating waterbirds were going SW along the shore!   Didn't they know that was the wrong way?

So in 2016 we decided to hire the experienced and highly skilled Louie Dombroski to be our counter and have him do an abbreviated count there to get a better feel for what was happening.   The results were impressive so we decided to follow up in 2017 with a full three month count from 15 August through 15 November.

Our two reports are available here  ---                                      and here  -----

 The Freda - Hebard Report 2017 covers two separate waterbird counts we did in the Keweenaw in 2017.  Louie D was counting at Freda from 15 August through 15 November but we also had Gary Palmer counting from 26 September through the 21st of October about 50 miles NE along the shoreline.  The differences between the two simultaneous counts were REALLY eye- opening.  The results are in the report along with speculation as to why there is this two-way migration at Freda.

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The count site at Freda is an old copper mining stamp mill along the Lake Superior shore about 12 miles west of Houghton.

Rock was brought in from the mines on railroad cars and dropped into the mill structure where it was crushed to start the process of removing the copper.   The waste, called "stamp sand", was dumped into Lake Superior in HUGE quantities.   The lake has moved the sand along the shore and into deeper water so you can't see it in this recent aerial photo.

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The stamp mill ruins make for a strange place to do a count from.

Here's our main counter, Louie Dombroski, hiding from the wind while performing the count.

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We entered our bird data on a tablet computer running the Dunkadoo software.

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