Saturday, February 14, 2009

Long-tails in Love on Cupid's Day

Long-tailed Duck (or if you prefer, Oldsquaw)

It's that time of year again: waterfowl numbers are increasing, and with that, male ducks are of course courting females in anticipation of the breeding season. Long-tailed Ducks, or Oldsquaw as they were formerly known, are one of the species engaged in this behavior right now. The "south-southerly" calls of these ducks currently fill the airspace around inlets, harbors and beachfronts throughout the Mid-Atlantic region.

CMBO has run an annual field trip to take in Long-tails (and other ducks) in all their splendor, and by luck, this year's trip occurred on Valentine's Day itself. Dave Lord just checked in with this rundown from today's "lovely" field trip down the coast:

"A beautiful St. Valentines Day produced a very enjoyable trip...The definitive highlights came at the 8th street jetty: 2 male Harlequin Ducks and the hen King Eider, a life bird for many. Other highlights included a Harbor Seal catching some sun at Nummy's Island before his date tonight, and a raft of 13 Horned Grebes at Sunset Lake. Leaders included Chuck and Mary Jane Slugg, Patty Rourke, Mark and Lynne Breslow, Judy Lukens, Shaun and Cindy Bamford, and Dave Lord."

I've included a sample of their day's list below:

Avalon Seawatch (note: includes 8th St. Jetty - TR)
Observation date: 2/14/09
Number of species: 14

Brant X
Brant (Atlantic) X
Lesser Scaup 12
King Eider 1
Common Eider 6
Harlequin Duck 2
Surf Scoter 75
Black Scoter 55
Long-tailed Duck 10
Ruddy Duck 2
Red-throated Loon 3
Common Loon 5
Purple Sandpiper 3

Be sure to check out the Programs and Events page to keep abreast of upcoming happenings at CMBO. As February turns to March (and winter turns to spring), program offerings will continue to swell.

No comments: