Tomhannock Reservoir, 11/14/10

That’s Tomhannock, not Tomahawk, or Tomhammock, or Tamarack. We took a loop drive around the lake hoping to see the flock of Snow Geese that had been sighted yesterday, so many, they said, it looked like a snowbank on the water. I used to see them fly in by the thousands* at Jamaica Bay WR and was really looking forward to seeing these old friends again.

We checked out the south end first, finding mostly Canada geese and mergansers. Moving up the east side, we pulled off to watch more mergansers and some Common Goldeneye, another old coastal friend. Something large and dark caught my eye — raven? turkey vulture? — No! it’s an immature Bald Eagle! He circled overhead for a few minutes, flying low enough for me to see the mottled breast feathers, then glided off northward. Wow!

Moving along, always taking the left-hand turns to keep close to the lakeshore, I was beginning to lose hope. Thousands of dark bodies, then — a flash of white! One long raft of Snow geese, at least 350/400. They didn’t mingle with their larger cousins. Then the eagle soared low overhead again and set the snow geese into flight. The whole flock lifted, calling, like a clamorous blizzard with black-tipped wings, then settled back as danger passed.

Home again, just before sunset, and a small bird flew in front of me and began stiffly hopping up a tree, poking under the bark. ‘White-breasted nuthatch’, I thought — but wait — it’s going UP the tree. I couldn’t see it in detail in the dusk, but fortuitously it flew to a snag that caught the last light, and then I could make out the brown, not slaty, back, and the slightly down-curved beak. It was a Brown Creeper, and that’s Bird #79 on my backyard list!

2 New to this list: Common Goldeneye, Snow Goose.

1 new to yard: Brown Creeper.

* ~sigh~ That’s just how it used to look.

Categories: Field trip, New bird, OMG bird, Species count, Yard first | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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