Monday, March 25, 2019

Swimming with the Ducks

With a nice day forecast and the boat trailing behind, I headed for a lake early yesterday.  Although a high of 61 was called for, the trucks thermometer indicated 27 degrees Fahrenheit as I arrived at launch ramp with the sun beginning to peak over the eastern horizon.  After an hour or so of nice morning light clouds moved in covering the sky for the duration of my outing.  

Waterfowl was plentiful with a nice variety of species present.  The highlight of the trip was an encounter with a accommodating flock of Bufflehead ducks who allowed me to approach quite closely.  Comparing to my outing last Friday, the Tundra Swans and Greater Scaup had moved on, however Green-winged teal, Lesser Scaup, and Red-breasted Merganser made their appearance.  The numbers of Hooded Merganser and Ring-neck Ducks were lower while the numbers of Gadwall and Horned Grebe, had increased.

When the day turned breezy under dreary cloudy skies I stashed the cameras and broke out a fishing rod to try my luck for the first time this spring.  Four yellow perch and three crappies later it was time to load up and head home.

Male Bufflehead

Bufflehead, two males with a lone female

Bufflehead pair

Ring-necked Ducks

Ring-necked male showing his chestnut neck ring

Horned Grebe

Horned Grebes take flight

There is nothing common about the beauty of the Common Loon

Common Loon

Red-breasted Merganser males, a first for the year

Scaup taking off,
Not sure of the identity but am leaning towards them being of the Lesser variety 

Green-winged Teal exploding from a marshy area

Saturday, March 16, 2019

On The Water with Migrating Waterfowl

With winter loosening its grip and a warm day in store for Thursday, I invited my wife for a daytrip to check out some likely spots to find migrating waterfowl.  My goal was to find migratory waterfowl in a setting where I could photograph them from my boat, something I haven't been able to do seriously since the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission drained our nearby Meadow Grounds Lake.  When we stopped at a state park containing a nice sized lake I knew we had hit paydirt.  Various flocks of waterfowl were scattered about in the open water while half or more of the lake remained ice covered.  Also of interest were at least four bald eagles soaring about causing eruptions of ducks and geese whenever they approached a flock too closely.

The sight of hundreds of waterfowl certainly had my interest so upon returning home I hauled the boat from winter storage, checked it over, and prepped it for a trip to the lake on Friday morning.

Friday morning was exceptionally warm, windy, and spitting rain.  Not to be deterred I arrived at the lake at dawn.  I was surprised to find that nearly all of the ice that had covered the lake the day before had now melted and while the waterfowl wasn't out in the open windy areas vast flocks were taking advantage of the sheltered coves.  The following are some of the better photos I was able to capture during my morning outing.  

Common Merganser


American Coot

Ring-necked Ducks

Wood Ducks 

Bald Eagle with Ring-necked Ducks along the reeds


Canada Goose

Hooded Merganser

Greater Scaup

Tundra Swans

American Wigeon

In addition to the species pictured here I also had sightings of the following; Mallard, Horned Grebe,  and a lone Common Loon.  All in all it was a fabulous morning on the water, something that I want to repeat soon!

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Middle Creek Morning

As winter wanes massive flocks of waterfowl head north on their annual journey to the northern nesting grounds.  For birds like Tundra Swans and Snow Geese Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area is an excellent place to view the migration as it passes by in late winter.

 A large flock of Snow Geese were rafted near Willow Point this morning where a good sized crowd of onlookers gathered.

There were a number of lift-offs this morning with some of the Snows passing directly overhead.  

Later in the morning Tundra Swans provided nice pass shooting from along the tour road.

Not to be outdone by the hordes of waterfowl, this hawk posed along the tour road for close-up photos.

What you have seen is some of the better images taken this morning with my Canon 60D with the 100-400 lens.  I was also shooting a 6D with a 600mm lens however when I attempted to download that card the files were corrupted and unrecoverable.