Another ducky day, 11/16/10

November weather is here with intent. Low clouds, light but chill rain, and a general air of closing-up-shop for the season. The feeders are constantly busy and need daily refills, and any kind of suet is a magnet.

I’m so glad we drove out to the reservoir Sunday. No one has reported seeing the Snow Geese since then.

I took a quick drive around Nassau Lake on my way to stock up on more seed. The lake surface was almost glassy except for the circles of rain drops and woodsmoke drifted slowly horizontally just above the water. Things were very quiet, nowhere near the rafts of ducks from last week. The rain grew heavier as I parked and scanned the lake, watching a large bird fly over — was it an osprey? Nope, a Great Black-backed Gull. I had forgotten how massive they look on the wing. Hooded and Common Mergansers swam in mixed flocks, with a few Ruddy Ducks and American Coots for variety.

One flock of about 30 Hooded Mergansers were performing maneuvers in company. You’d be watching them swim vigorously with a lot of wing-flapping and dashing at each other, then they would almost all dive in unison, then pop back up and start swashing about again.

Then it started to pour, so home again.

Black-capped Chickadee, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Dark-eyed Junco, Blue Jay, American Crow, European Starling, House Sparrow, Canada Goose, Mallard, Ring-billed Gull, Northern Cardinal, American Goldfinch, White-breasted Nuthatch, Northern Flicker, Red-tailed Hawk, Great Blue Heron, Hooded Merganser, Common Merganser, Great Black-backed Gull, Ruddy Duck, American Coot.

23 species, 3 new to this list.

Categories: Feeder birds, Field trip, New bird, Species count, Usual suspects | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Another ducky day, 11/16/10

  1. Speaking of great blue herons, I wanted to share this with you. It happened earlier this week.

    I saw one of those sights this morning that makes you stop and gape. I was walking around a small bay in the Marshlands Conservancy, and I saw a great blue heron soaring out toward the mouth of the bay, to windward, at an altitude of probably 150 or 200 feet. Suddenly it did something I’ve *never* seen a heron do: it initiated a series of alternating very sharp right and left banks, so that it suddenly turned one wing to the sky and the other to the water, then alternated 180 degrees, and so on. With each abrupt bank, it dropped altitude quickly, so that the overall effect was of it dropping quickly down a ladder. I figured it was going after something tasty in the water, but after four or five banks it calmly resumed its course, albeit much closer to the water. It was amazing to see a heron be so deft.

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