Monday, December 20, 2010

Birding on thin ice

I stopped by the local state park (East Fork) to do a little birding this afternoon. The roads in the park were not all treated from the last snow storm we had, so I had to park on top of the hill and walk down to the beach (plus the gate was closed). In a way, this was a good thing, as it kept the dog walkers from being on the beach. The downside was I didn't feel like lugging my scope back up the hill so I didn't take it.

It was quiet and seemed as though there wasn't much around at first glance. Since I walked down the hill, I decided to spend some time here just to see what I could see. The first birds that I spotted was a group of Mallards with some Gadwall in with them. Also spotted some Horned & Pied-billed Grebes, a couple of Common Loons, Black Ducks, and Canada Geese.

As I walked up and over a little rise to see a cove to the west of the beach, I noticed something moving on the shore. Ah, an American Coot.

American Coot
American Coot

As I continued to walk to the water's edge, the coot decided to walk right up to me. It came to within about 3 ft. of me! I continued to scan the shoreline. I could see a bird that looked like a shorebird on the other side of the cove. Looked like a Wilson's Snipe to me (not easy to find here this time of year). I tried to get a better look, but didn't realize that I was standing on ice!

Wilson's Snipe
Wilson's Snipe

The bird appeared to be resting, but that was short lived, as the ice I was standing on gave way and I fell into a small ditch (luckily it was only about a foot deep). All that commotion startled the snipe, and it flew away or at least I thought it did.

I continued walking the shoreline when I saw something pop up from behind a rock in front of me. It was the snipe. It was hiding behind a rock! After my mishap, I couldn't blame it.

Wilson's Snipe
Wilson's Snipe hiding behind a rock

Oh, and the coot? It thought the whole debacle was hilarious!!! No kidding, I took this photo not ten seconds after I fell through the ice.

American Coot
American Coot laughing at my mishap!



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17 comments:

  1. Lol, funny story, strange seeing a Snipe and snow in the same picture. Surprisingly we had a Snipe on our CBC last weekend in central Ontario, crazy birds ;-)

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  2. Hilarious! Especially the duck shot. Sorry for your mishaps, but great blog fodder. Thanks for sharing.

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  3. Great, who knew that a coot could have a sense of humor? But of course seeing them in huge flocks they probably do in order to get along with each other.

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  4. Enjoyed your post. Luckily you got out with just wet feet. I didn't know snipes stayed around in snow and ice.

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  5. Ha! Very funny post... I thought those coots always looked a little smug.

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  6. Great post. I enjoyed the commentary to go along with those nice shots, especially the laughing coot.

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  7. Well, at least you don't have to participate in the polar bear swim now ;-)

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  8. Great post. Love the laughing Coot, and the Snipe peering over the rock.

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  9. Love it. Great birds too! What a perfect birders story, mystery and mishap and regardless of the mayhem you still took perfect pictures. You Sir, are a skilled professional! ;-)WBW

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  10. GOOD catch on the snipe!! Takes a lickin and keeps on tickin-

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  11. A great birders tale and lovely images.

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  12. Ashley12:16 PM

    Really great pictures Don! I miss birding with you, you seem to attract all the adventure :)

    ~*Ash

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  13. Greetings from rain soaked Southern California.

    I added myself to follow your blog. You are more than welcome to visit mine and become a follower if you want to :-)

    May God bless you and your family in 2011 ~Ron

    And always remember... Smiles don't have to be saved for a rainy day. It's good to waste them :-)

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  14. wow ! great pictures!

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  15. Hey Donald, I'm from Peru, I like the way you narrate it, it actually feels like I've been there walking, thanks for sharing your adventures.

    www.birdinginperu.blogspot.com

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