Daily Observations

Gavan Hill

I took advantage of no scheduled morning classes today and went to Marge and Tedin’s again to look for Hoary Redpolls. I stopped by Swan Lake on the way and then walked New Thompson Harbor on the way back.

Weather: After yesterday’s warm temperatures, wind and rain, I was not expecting to see fresh snow on the ground this morning. Snow continued to fall off and on through the morning with periods of partial clearing. Winds seemed to be pretty calm.


After yesterday’s warmer temperatures, the open water at Swan Lake had expanded a fair bit. When I arrived, there were several Ring-necked Ducks, most with heads tucked under wings. They are usually not too tolerant of people, and when I arrived, they paddled to the far side of the opening (without raising their heads, for the most part). Fortunately for my viewing, the open water was still not that large. There were at least 9 Ring-necked Ducks, most males. As I sat by the edge of the lake and watched, some drifted back toward me. Eventually over the course of a few minutes several of them flew off (individually or two at a time) toward the upper end of the lake and beyond. A little while later they came back and circled the opening before going off in another direction. Before I left, I think they had all returned and landed back on the lake.

There was one female scaup at the lake and the first year Glaucous Gull was also there along with a few other gulls and the usual assortment of Mallards.

At Marge and Tedin’s house I seemed to arrive right about the same time as large flocks of Pine Siskins and Common Redpolls. Most of what I saw were Pine Siskins, but there were several Common Redpolls in the mix as well. Dark-eyed Juncos, Chestnut-backed Chickadees, a Song Sparrow, and a couple of European Starlings were also feeding in the yard. A couple of pigeons circled around a couple of times, but they seemed unhappy with my presence. A Sharp-shinned Hawk also made an appearance (see other post from today for more details).

When I left Marge and Tedin’s I went down by New Thompson Harbor. There were not too many birds in among the boats in the harbor, but there was a male Long-tailed Duck feeding near the transient float. I was able to get several pictures of it, including the one at the end of this post, and some of it eating what looked like some kind of shrimp.

There were also three or more loons around. One of them was pretty clearly a Pacific Loon, another was pretty clearly a Common Loon, but I had a hard time deciding what a third one was.

I also saw a dozen or so first-year (with maybe some adult females mixed in) Goldeneyes, a Pelagic Cormorant, crows, ravens, a few Common Mergansers, several Gulls (mostly Glaucous-winged Gulls) and a scaup or two.

Diving Long-tailed Duck

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