Thursday, February 5, 2009

Detroit River duckies! - 04 Feb 2009

Today at lunch the sun was shining, and despite the near-zero temps I took a quick run down to the boat launch at the foot of St. John's Street. The small opening in the ice-covered river was packed w/ dozens of Mallard and several Mute Swans that were waiting for a handout. As I scanned the birds I noticed a single drake Ring-neck Duck dabbling toward the edge of the open water and took the opportunity to get a dozen or so photos before it flew off toward the middle of the river. An open stretch of the river near shore hosted several pairs of Common Goldeneye and Common Mergansers. As far as I looked I found no gulls about, so I headed down to the foot of Southfield Rd.

Not many ducks were about, but I did see a pair of American Wigeon swimming in the narrow channel this side of Mud Island, so I decided I would come back after work and try to digiscope them.
At home the yard was loaded with American Goldfinches, Pine Siskins and Common Redpolls. They continue to empty the 6 feeders I fill daily, but I'm not complaining (yet....). I grabbed the scope and headed back to work.

After work I went back to the foot of Southfield Rd. and immediately found the Wigeon swimming in the same location I found them earlier. As I approached the railing lining the shoreline a pair of Common Goldeneye swam out from below and made me photograph them. As I set up the scope a Gadwall flew in and landed in the middle of the channel and made me digiscope it for the next five minutes as it swam upstream dodging floating ice drifts. Once it floated out of range I turned my attention toward the Wigeon, which were now gone. So, I now have a new nemesis bird... Before leaving I spent a few minutes digiscoping a pair of Redhead swimming nearby.

Before heading home I stopped at Bishop Park to look for ducks, but found only a single drake Canvasback swimming a few yards from shore. I took a few photos of it before turning my attention to a military helicopter that flew overhead. Cool! As the half-moon appeared in the clear skies I bundled up and headed home.

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