But a "bad" winter isn't all bad. The unusual cold has caused waters up north to freeze and stay frozen. Open water has been hard to find down here SW Ohio. East Fork froze almost completely and even the Ohio River froze over for a brief period. The ice has since began to recede and disappear, however East Fork remains half frozen, while the river is thawed.
This has caused a good number of ducks that are usually considered rare for this area down here in amazing numbers. While I already blogged about the large number of White-winged Scoters being seen, they continue to add up. I don't ever recall seeing so many in so many different places since I have started birding. Another duck that I haven't seen much in my years birding is a the Long-tailed Duck. Such a gorgeous bird, I don't remember ever seeing a male in breeding plumage. Reports of multiple birds in multiple locations along the Ohio River had me pumped up. I was hoping to see a nice looking male close up. Well, I got that opportunity!
Look at that tail! Many of the ones I have seen has had its tail broke off. A nice looking duck for sure!
The duck was not by itself and was very close to shore. It later joined up with another flock of ducks.
Any long time birder in the Cincinnati area would note that you just don't see this down here! This year is off the hook. Here is a closeup of a pair of ducks where just seeing one species would be a very good day birding in SW Ohio, but this??!!
I'll take it!
Here are some more pictures of such a handsome duck.
With such a handsome duck to watch, it is hard to take your eyes off of him. But he isn't the only duck around. The river has been hopping with all kinds of ducks and mergansers.
Common Mergansers everywhere. Not always easy to find around here.
And of course this Motley Crew, Red-breasted Mergansers. Love the hair do.
And lots of different species of ducks including, Redheads, both scaup, Canvasback, Bufflehead, Ring-necked.
You can notice sun in these pictures. We were granted a very brief preview of Spring by mother nature, and it was much appreciated by me and the birds. Love to watch ducks get funky while doing their courtship rituals!
Love Green-winged Teal. Their sounds are odd for a duck. I don't see them much around here, so they were welcome. So gorgeous!
And of course, so are the other ducks ---->
With all this duck action, it is hard to remember that there is other birds to be seen. I noticed the Medahl Dam Peregrine Falcon chowing down while watching the ducks and gulls.
As the temperatures gradually warmed, the birds began singing more and more. This male Horned Lark was just singing away at the beach at East Fork recently.
This Barred Owl was out soaking up the sun, something that sounds nice right about now.
But it just ins't Spring without the sound of one bird in particular. That one bird is my "Spring bird". That bird is the American Woodcock. With the weather, I really wasn't expected to see any during a short warm spell that we had recently. But, just after dark, I heard the sound. And it begins... Peent! It is spring!
Spring migration has already begun, as it is triggered by the days getting longer rather then the temperatures.
Here is a Red-necked Grebe that has been hanging around the south beach at East Fork for a couple of days. This is the best look yet I have of this species. Would be nice to see in breeding plumage.