November 30, 2008

Birding in the Snow

Looking out the window early in the morning I noticed big, fluffy snowflakes falling from the sky. I was to go birding in an hour or so and it was snowing fairly hard. Despite this I got dressed and ready and my dad and I were headed out the door. The reason I got up so early was the fact that a strange duck had been found at the Port Neal Flyash Ponds. The bird of note was a possible Mottled Duck that was seen there. I drove with Paul, a local birder, and we headed out to get there very early. We met up with two other birders there, also in search of the bird. After getting clearance to get in we drove into the area and started scoping the many ducks that were there.
After a couple hours of searching we found Ross's, Snow, Canada, Cackling and Greater White-fronted Goose, American Wigeon, Northern Pintail, Wood Duck, Common Goldeneye, Mallard, and more out in the water but nothing like a Mottled Duck was there. A few Ring-billed Gulls flew around there as well adding to the show. One unexpected sight was that of a Least Sandpiper that was foraging on the ice! After searching there for sometime we decided to go down to the river where we found few birds, with Great Blue Heron being the most interesting. After our fruitless search we headed over the Owego Wetlands. Birds of interest included eight Rough-legged Hawks and several Northern Harriers but not much else was out and about.
We then made our way up into the hills to look for sparrows and other interesting things that may be hanging out up there. We saw many of the usual birds as well as a few more Rough-legged Hawks, making our total for the day 12. After that we headed back to the river valley to finish our trip. Only a few birds were seen during this part of the trip. One interesting thing that we did see was a young Red-tailed Hawk perched in a tree with one wing open and placed (or stuck) on a branch. I took this photo just before he flew off. The day then came to an end and I went back home after a nice (not weather wise) day of birding.

1 comment:

Roberta said...

Cool post and great photos too. The snow geese migrate through Vancouver, B.C. in the spring and fall. It's an awesome spectacle.