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Monday, January 21, 2013

Lake Champlain Birding with NBNC

The North Branch Nature Center's trip to Lake Champlain proved to be very productive this past Saturday (1/19), with eight participants tallying fifteen species of ducks at six locations along the shore.  Land Birds (Snow Buntings, Larks, Longspurs) were notably absent, but this was made up for by the 9,000+ ducks congregating around the Champlain Bridge.  Some highlights are included below:

  • A Mallard pair courting and copulating at Shelburne Bay.
  • A Cooper's Hawk flying into the open window of a barn at the top of Fort Cassin Road.  It never exited while we were there.
  • A Rough-legged Hawk off Hawkins Road.
  • Bald Eagles in good numbers!  2 adults at Shelburne Bay.  At least 15 at Fort Cassin Bay feeding on the ice.  And another 3 near Champlain Bridge.
  • Red-breasted Mergansers... 2 males at Meach Cove and 2 more at Charlotte Town Beach.
  • A male Northern Pintail at Charlotte Town Beach.
  • Horned Grebe close to shore at Charlotte Town Beach (also seen at Meach Cove and Shelburne Point)
  • Eastern Bluebird at the Champlain Bridge
  • Continuing rarities from Champlain Bridge area, including Tufted Duck, Barrow's Goldeneye, Canvasback, and Redhead, and thousands of scaup and goldeneye.  Despite our efforts, the Pochard was not seen.  Ducks have been pushed back from the bridge by the advancing ice, and it will be interesting to see where they end up as temperatures dip next week and ice continues to displace the birds.  
This Cooper's Hawk flew right into an open window
of this barn!  We assume it was hunting pigeons inside.
A male Northern Pintail was a pleasant surprise at
Charlotte Town Beach. They are rare in winter.
These two male Redheads were hiding in the clock of
over 9,000 ducks at Champlain Bridge.

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