Rather than prepare for my talk this evening, I decided to go look for a Hoary Redpoll again. I spent a couple hours at that, which made for a very frantic afternoon as I rushed to get prepared. I finished with little time to spare, but I think things turned out okay (even though I did forget to include a couple of photos I had intended to).
Weather: There was a little bit of snow on the ground this morning, but not much. Winds were calm in town, and the sun peaked through the overcast skies a couple of times. There was no precipitation where I was today.
Birds: I think I might have seen a Hoary Redpoll briefly, but it flew out of sight before I could get a good look or a photo. It just seemed much whiter than the other redpolls I was seeing.
Despite the chill in the air, it was enjoyable to sit and watch the Pine Siskins and Common Redpolls. I could feel the breeze from their wings as they flew by me, and I lost count of how many times birds landed on me as I sat on the step. Some even landed on my hands while I was holding the camera to my face. A couple of them seemed a little curious as they looked at me. The Pine Siskins were the most numerous and bold. I think one Common Redpoll may have landed on my shoulder once.
On the way out to look for the Hoary Redpoll, I stopped by Swan Lake. Along with the usual contingent of Mallards and Gulls, there was a Hooded Merganser, a first year Glaucous Gull, an American Wigeon, several Ring-necked Ducks, the Northern Pintail female flew in while I was there, and there was a Scaup. The scaup puzzled me as it had the head that I thought was a Greater Scaup, but the white bar on its feathers only went as far as the secondaries, not the primaries. It seemed very inclined to sit on the land rather than in the water, and I noticed that it had feet that seemed a little oversized. I guess that’s good for swimming and diving.
I my way back, I noticed low tide at the Turnaround and decided to wander out there in case a wayward Dunlin was lurking about. I saw a first year Glaucous Gull, perhaps the same one that has been at Swan Lake. There was also a third year Glaucous Gull bathing with some Glaucous-winged Gulls. This third year bird was amazingly white. It practically glows in the pictures I took. I’ll try to get some posted in the next day or two in a separate entry.