Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Tues. 1/29: Two Mile Beach notes, Lily Lake goodies, Reed's Beach diving ducks, Short-ear movie

With time to spare this afternoon, and the temperature hovering around 50 degrees, there was nothing to do except go birding...

I walked down Two Mile Beach with images of alcids floating through my head, but there were unfortunately none to be found when I arrived at the jetties marking the entrance to Cold Spring Inlet. The previously-seen Harlequin Ducks and Common Eiders were absent as well. However, that didn't mean that there weren't other nice things to see. A little time spent looking offshore produced all three scoter species on the wing, as well as a few Red-throated and Common Loons, Bonaparte's Gulls and Long-tailed Ducks. Two Mile not only offers some of the best winter birding around, but also a rare look into what our barrier islands would look like if they were still undeveloped...it's a special area, and well worth the stop.

{Above is a picture from the observation deck behind the dunes at Two Mile Beach, looking south toward Cold Spring Inlet...just ignore my slanted horizon...}

A stroll around Lily Lake produced the Barnacle Goose with the usual Canada Goose flock, as well as the 5 Redheads and female Canvasback. An adult Red-shouldered Hawk was perched along the east side of the lake. A picture of the Redheads, along with a few American Coots, is included.

There were a few hundred diving ducks visible from the north end of Reed's Beach this evening- mainly Greater Scaup, with lesser numbers of Ruddy Ducks and Common Goldeneye, and a smattering of Bufflehead and Red-breasted Mergansers.
I've also included (and hopefully this will work) a brief video clip of a Short-eared Owl from Jake's Landing last week- just in case you can't get down here to see the show this winter. Keep in mind that this was taken with a digital camera, so quality and image stability aren't the best. I lose track of the bird eventually, and haven't yet been able to cut out the end of the video, which features nothing but phragmites, so consider pushing stop after the 16-second mark.

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