Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Glaucous Gull! - 10 Feb 2011

I took a bike ride at Pt. Mouillee this morning, hoping to get a few miles of exercise before the weekend. It was somewhat dark and overcast this day, and cold enough that I wouldn't have to worry about the trails thawing.

I took a ride by the antennae farm just south of the SGA, and found a female Northern Harrier sitting close to the road.  It took off and flew toward the car, but veered away so that I was unable to get any photos of it from the driver side. 

I then parked at the Mouillee Creek entrance and rode the Middle Causeway toward the Banana Unit. My first Red-winged Blackbirds of the year were singing "konk-la-ree" near the parking lot. Ring-billed Gulls were actively flying along Mouillee Creek, but I was unable to turn up any other type of gull.  Mallards and Canada Geese were the majority in the Walpatich Unit, but I managed a few Redhead Ducks and a single Bufflehead.

The Humphries Unit held hundreds of American Coot, at least three Green-winged Teal, and a few more Canada Geese.  A half-dozen Mute Swans were roosting on the ice near the SW corner of the Vermet Unit, and another half-dozen Tundra Swans were found near the SE corner.  A pair of Bald Eagles were roosting in their typical haunt in the middle of the unit.

Cell 4 was open, and Lesser Scaup, Redhead and American Black Duck busy scattering from the near shoreline.  It was not hard to notice that some of the Herring Gulls and Ring-billed Gulls were already sporting their dashing breeding whites - really quite beautiful!

I scanned the mudflats of Cell 3 for the Snowy Owl, but failed to find anything w/ feathers.  I left the bike and walked around the east shoreline of Cell 3, and was able to see 30 Great Black-backed Gulls along the lakeshore and out on the small mudflats midway toward the SE corner of the cell.  I photographed this (presumed) 1st-cycle Herring Gull near the shore, but have some doubts as to its origin.  The beak seems a bit large, and suggests a possible GBBG X Herring Gull hybrid. 

Luckily, I was quickly distracted by this 1st-cycle Glaucous Gull that came flying in from the lake.  I sanpped several frames as it banked to the south and landed among a few Herring Gulls swimming near shore.  Note the dark eye and black-tipped bill, white wings and tail.  Quite a magnificent bird - I couldn't help but think of Dad at this moment.

I rode back to the car, and then headed north for home.  I stopped momentarily at Riverside Park and found a half-dozen Common Merganser males swimming near the boat launch, but was unable to get any worthwhile photos.  I continued on to Pt. Mouillee HQ, where I managed a few frames of a Lesser Scaup that was swimming near shore.

After leaving the parking lot I stopped for a few minutes at the gate and threw out some seed.  A Black-capped Chickadee landed on my mirror, and would've flown into the car if I had seed in my hand to offer.

Four White-throated Sparrows, several Dark-eyed Juncos, and a single American Tree Sparrow were unconcerned w/ my presence.  The two-dozen Northern Cardinals were a bit more pensive, but offered numerous photos from just a few feet away. 

1 comment:

troutbirder said...

Neat blog with beautiful photography. I wish I knew waterfowl and shorebirds better. Unfortunately, I live in the only county in The Land Of 10,000 lakes, without a lake. :)

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