Sunday, November 27, 2011
J.R. Whiting Plant - 25 Nov 2011
The water level was down a touch, as there was about 5 feet of fresh shoreline exposed. The sand was compacted enough to make for a nice walk south toward the end of Woodtick Peninsula. It was a relatively quiet walk, with only a smattering of waterfowl to keep me preoccupied.
A small group of floating Herring / Ring-billed Gulls near the discharge of the power plant contained a single adult Great Black-backed Gull. Nearby a small raft of a couple dozen Lesser Scaup were quietly floating 50 yds out from shore. As I walked near the discharge a flock of 45 Bonaparte's Gulls passed by.
A much larger flock of mixed Herring/Ring-billed Gulls south of the discharge held 6 Lesser Black-backed Gulls. Unfortunately they were between me and the sun, so it was impossible to digiscope them unless I could get south of their roost on a shallow sand bar. They took off when an immature Bald Eagle made a pass over them, and they headed south and out of sight.
The phragmites to my right were relatively quiet the entire walk. Only a couple of American Tree Sparrows, and the odd Northern Cardinal were heard. As I walked about a mile south of the plant I began to see rafts of Ruddy Ducks about 70 yds. out. Bufflehead were the next most abundant bird, with dozens forming small groups bobbing about 50 yds. away. I managed to scope a single Horned Grebe, and another bird I thought to be a Red-necked Grebe, but it turned out to be a female Black Scoter! Black cap and white throat were the only field marks I could make out, but it dove alot and kept itself apart from the nearby Ruddies.
I returned to the car and headed north toward the city of Monroe. I had every intention of making a swing through Sterling State Park, but decided to bypass it and go straight home. Little did I know that Mr. Skye Haas would report a Pacific Loon there just a few minutes later... More on that next post.