Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Springtime Ducks

Today was the first off day that I had in a long while that was sunny and not pouring down rain. I had to get out and do some birding. The water is still very high just about everywhere, conditions that are very favorable for good water birds.

There were many coots walking around on the grass at the beach when I arrived at the lake. There were also a good deal of people walking around with dogs, but luckily for a change they were all on leashes. The birds only seemed to pay moderate attention to them.

Scanning the large flock of coots revealed about a dozen or so Bufflehead mixed in.

Male Bufflehead
Male Bufflehead


Male Bufflehead

The males were displaying and chasing one another.

Male Bufflehead
Male Bufflehead

And the females were uninterested of course...

Female Bufflehead

After watching the Buffleheads, I rescanned the flock and found my first of the year/season Blue-winged Teal!

Blue-winged Teal
Blue-winged Teal

One decided to start swimming towards to me!

Blue-winged Teal

The teal came all the way up to the shore and stared me down, as if to say "I know I am a handsome duck, so quit staring at me!"

Blue-winged Teal

I preceded to walk along the shore, looking for birds and rescanning the flock of coots. I noticed 3 Bald Eagles flying high above the lake. Also, my FOS Double-crested Cormorants and Bonapartes Gulls. Scoping out the lake revealed a huge raft of ducks consisting mostly of scaup and bufflehead.

A group of highschool rowers started to pile into the park, so I decided to head for the car. That is when I noticed this sad sight:

Ring-billed Gull with lure attached

A Ring-billed Gull with a lure stuck in its neck. There really wasn't anything that I could do, as the bird spooked and starting swimming to the middle of the lake. This is why fishermen should try to prevent the snapping of line as much as possible. However, I didn't have to end the day on this sad note. As I was getting near the car, my FOS Tree Swallows came out of nowhere and were flying all around me. Spring is here!



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15 comments:

  1. Some very nice spring migrants there Donald. Such a shame to see that irresponsible fishermen are a world wide problem. Hope the Gull makes it.

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  2. Great post. Ring-billed gulls showed up today with snow geese, tundra swans and hundreds of pintails also.

    I love the buffleheads.

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  3. Love the Blue Winged Teal pics!

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  4. Great photos of all the waterbirds.

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  5. That song will be stuck in my head now for days..:-)

    How sad for the last bird. It happens on the Thames n4ear us, swans caught in fishing lines.

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  6. A very nice set of these birds in the water. Well done!

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  7. Awesome Buffleheads and the Blue Wing Teal..awesome-
    Sad about the gull--
    I have a big beef with monofilament!!

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  8. Great to see your spring migrants Donald. I'll be skywatching here for Martins and then the Swallows very soon. FAB.

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  9. Lovely shot of the Blue-winged Teal.

    Sad to see that poor gull at the end. A worldwide problem unfortunately.

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  10. Even with the sad sight of the hooked gull that was quite a nice day of birding. I'm glad the weather broke for you. We got 8" of the white stuff today!

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  11. Loved the Blue-Winged Teal. I have never seen one.
    Major sad about the Gull with the lure.:(

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  12. Nice shots of the Bufflehead and Blue-winged Teal Donald. I love watching ducks, they are so entertaining.

    Sad to see the hooked gull, helplessness is such an awful feeling. But then again, you saw your first of the season Tree Swallows, one of my favorite birds to watch!

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  13. Beautiful images

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  14. Absolutely beautiful.
    Just checking back to read any postings you may have written.

    I’ve been following and enjoying your blog for a while now and would like to invite you to visit and perhaps follow me back. Sorry I took so long for the invitation

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  15. Nice series of images, Donald. I love Buffleheads, which we see here nearly every day on the coast of Maine. I get a kick out of their courting rituals, too. Sadly, our smallest yet most shot duck, and I'm not talking photographically. Gorgeous teal, too and the poor gull.

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