A pair of Northern Harriers were my first birds of the morning, quietly cruising over the Long Pond Unit. Other than that my first half-hour of riding only yielded straggler Herring/Ring-billed Gulls.
I rode around the south end of the unit out to the Lake Erie shoreline. There I scoped dozens of American Black Ducks, Common Goldeneye and Bufflehead. As I reached the NE corner of the unit another Northern Harrier flushed and scatted 3 dozen American Tree Sparrows.
I then rode along the east side of the Vermet Unit, where I counted 120 Tundra Swans and another 50 Canada Geese roosting on the ice. Heading back around the back side of Cell 5 I checked out the lake, again. There I found a large raft of ~350 Bonaparte's Gulls bobbing near shore. A few of the birds were flying next to shore and oblivious to my presence. Figures I'd leave the D300s/300 f/2.8 VRII at home - I love photographing Bonaparte's Gulls.
Farther out on the lake the skies were blackening with flocks of Lesser Scaup, Common Goldeneye, Black Duck, Common Mergansers and Bufflehead that reached several thousand. I was too cold to scope them all, and they were far off in the distance. But they created quite an impressive sight.
Heading back to the car along the North Causeway I spotted dozens of Ruddy Duck and more Lesser Scaup and Bufflehead. Another Northern Harrier flushed from the ditch to my left and headed off toward the Humphries Unit. I followed it, hoping it would land, but it continued on to the south.
Several bow-hunters were now out on the dikes looking for deer, but I told them that I had not seen any.
Thoroughly frozen, I returned to the car and headed home to get ready for Christmas Eve and Festivus parties. Let the airing of grievances commence!