After spending yesterday at home, I wandered around a little bit today. I spent some time down at Sage Beach, then at Swan Lake, and finally I took a short walk up along Indian River off of Indian River Road.
Weather: It got pretty windy yesterday. Today the winds had calmed down significantly, though there was a little bit that blew with some squalls that moved through. Rain and hail/graupel fell with the squalls this morning, but by early afternoon it was pretty nice over town. The sun was shining and without much wind, it did not even feel that cold (though that could have had something to do with all the layers I was wearing).
Birds: There were several Common Mergansers, Buffleheads, and Mallards feeding along Sage Beach. I was a little surprised at how close to shore the Buffleheads and Mallards were. The tide was up and there was a pretty good surge creating decent sized waves on the beach. The ducks were all right in the zone where the waves were breaking.
There were Black Turnstones on Sage Rock. It’s possible that there were also Surfbirds, but it was difficult to see that well. It was also difficult to tell how many there were, as I suspect many were on the side of the rock where I could not see them.
At Swan Lake there were 10 or more Ring-necked Ducks, many Gulls (included the Glaucous Gull), the female Northern Pintail, and an American Wigeon. These were all near the penninsula (along with crows and ravens; someone had been feeding the birds when I arrived). A male Common Merganser made a brief apperance as well.
There were two male Hooded Mergansers diving (and feeding?) along the shore where there was only a very narrow strip of open water. They were pretty wary, as they flew off when I got off my bicycle and started walking it (even though I was on the other side of the street). I was able get fairly close to one (after it landed further up the lake) by sneaking up behind some trees, but before I could get any photos, it took off when someone walked by (they were across the street, even).
At Indian River, as I was walking up to a back water at the edge of the woods, I saw some ripples in the water like a little rivulet of water was entering the pool. It seemed a strange place for water to flow in, so I stepped up to take a closer look and scared off an American Dipper. In the same backwater pool, there were a couple of male Common Mergansers. One of them saw me and flew off right away. The other took off after a few moments, though I’m not sure it knew I was there.
On my way back through the woods, I saw a lone Common Redpoll feeding on the forest floor. It seemed odd to see one all alone on the ground in the forest.
Flora: One of the reasons I went to Indian River was to look for a moss I photographed last summer. I found what I think was the moss, but it looks fairly different now. It’s much darker than it was, and the clump had accumulated much sand (presumably during flood stage in the fall).
There were several mosses that were growing sporophytes and some had sporophytes that were almost mature. In particular, it seemed that Leucolepis acanthoneuron had nearly mature sporophytes.
The miner’s lettuce could still be seen green on the gravel bars, but overall the near-river areas were much more open than when I was there last summer.