Sunday, January 30, 2011

January Birding

Today I went up to Port Huron to try to see the Harlequin Duck found by Darlene Freidman a week ago. On my first scan of the ducks I was pleased to see a White-winged Scoter with the Long-tailed Ducks but I did not see the Harlequin. After scanning the ducks for about fifteen minutes I was just starting to walk further down the river when I saw a small duck flying upstream. I assumed it was another Long-tailed Duck but as soon as I saw two spots on its face I knew it was the Harlequin. Fortunately, it landed within sight and I was able to get nice views through my scope and get a few pictures.

After I had been watching it for twenty minutes it flew further north out of sight. After I walked a little further down the river I noticed a Glaucous Gull soaring over Canada. It finally flew briefly over the American side before returning to Canada. An adult Bald Eagle soaring over the bridge was also nice. I then headed down the St. Clair river to look for more waterfowl. Marine City had good numbers of waterfowl including Tundra Swans as well as 4 Great Black-backed Gulls. Driving by Anchor Bay on the way home, I was amazed to see hundreds of cars parked on the ice. I knew a few people drove out to go ice fishing, but not this many.

On Friday, I went to see the Green-tailed Towhee in Bloomfield. After fifteen minutes it came out of the bushes for about five minutes. It was great to see such a rare bird in my home county of Oakland. I took a few very bad pictures.

It has been a surprisingly good week for me with other highlights being Peregrine Falcon and Lapland Longspur.