Monday, April 20, 2009

Sherman Island waterfowl

Today I had no intentions of birding, but simply couldn't stop myself. I drove down to pick up the Moreau Lake trail map for $2 and decided to hit up the spots along Spier Falls Rd where I had gone hawk/eagle watching with the guides from the park.

And it took such little effort to find birds! Sherman Island is a neat little "way" off Spier Falls Rd, overlooking the Hudson River (and you can walk right down to it). I stopped, got out my binoculars, and started scanning. If I hadn't done that, I would have never spotted anything, besides the 3 male Mallards flying at eye-level. I saw a Canada Goose standing still in the water by the island, 2 female Common Mergansers with their feathery bright rufous heads, preening their feathers while afloat. An American Goldfinch made it's flight call in the distance.

I walked down to the shoreline, and scanned again. Another Mallard, this time female. And then I saw them - 4 Wood Ducks! Two pairs, hanging out near each other on the water. Absolutely stunning males. I watched them until they floated off out of viewable distance.

On the walk back to my car, I finally SPOTTED a Belted Kingfisher. I usually only hear them. The gun-metal-gray head and back contrasting with the bright white undersides really stood out, even better than in the field guide. It noisily flew away from me, but I saw it anyway.

Great success! I'll have to come back here again. Also, further north near West Fort Ann, I spotted two Red-winged Blackbirds perched on some reed grass, and heard a Tufted Titmouse. It's fairly quiet today, being cool and overcast, with a slight breeze that chills right to the bone.

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