Saturday, December 31, 2016

End of Year Birding

With gusty southwest winds today I decided to go birding by car this afternoon to check out Hillman Marsh, and Lake Erie on the (somewhat) calmer east side.

Hillman Marsh currently has some open sections.  Highlight at the north bridge on Mersea Road 2 was a lone male Gadwall.  Ring-billed, Herring, and Bonaparte's Gulls were also present, along with a lone adult Bald Eagle that flew over.  No sign of the Ivory Gull that was found and photographed in central Ohio on the 29th.  Worth keeping an eye out for! 

At the Northeast Beach parking lot Lake Erie was pretty rough.  Common Goldeneye, Scaup (that were almost absent for the CBC), a few Bufflehead, and a couple of White-winged Scoter were present bobbing up and down on the waves.

I arrived at Wheatley Harbour pretty early in the afternoon at around 2:30pm.  Most gull activity seems to be in the later part of the day.  The break wall had no gulls, but the lake had a ton of the usual suspects of ducks.  Inside the calm harbour there were also a few ducks, that included a beautiful male Canvasback.  I haven't had the chance lately to do some photography, so I shut my car off and just waited for the ducks to get comfortable with my presence for some photos.  It was actually kind of nice to relax and just observe the daily ritual of the ducks diving for food, while the ever present gulls waited for them to bring up something to steal.  Most of the time the ducks did keep their prize.

The most cooperative subject was this little Ruddy Duck.
I wish everyone that reads this blog a Happy New Year!  Let's hope 2017 is a good one! 

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