Sunday, November 8, 2009

Same route as last week, but a GREAT surprise!

This time I was alone, but still got some great birds!!

This Saturday(7th) I went to the landfill, and checked on the gulls. No new arrivals, the same first-year GLAUCOUS GULL, and a few young THAYER'S GULLS, but nothing new.

In the west valley, I saw a few ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKS, but no shrike. At the house above the ponds on Church Rd, a group of about 10 GRAY PARTRIDGE ran across the road put on a great show in the person's front yard. The birds were shortly joined by a pair of EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVES. These birds are becoming increasingly common in this part of MT, as the first one got here only a few years ago.

The pond still had the number of MALLARDS and PINTAIL, but no other ducks, and no swans, but about 100 CANADA GEESE joined them. At least one looked like it could be a larger subspecies of CACKLING GOOSE, but just hard to tell, you know?....

This time I checked Foy Lake. Good idea. The first bird on the lake was quite far, but just checking through the binoculars revealed the shape of a duck, maybe a scoter species. For some very odd reason, that is all I had to do, and I KNEW it was a scoter. just some how, I KNEW it was a scoter just by a very crappy long distance view through the binoculars.
I grabbed my scope out of the van, and was ready to reveal the species. It was dark black/brown with some white washy areas on the face. Well, that sure helps.... All scoters look like that is some plumage or another. But the shape of the head dismissed Black. Then the bird stretched and flapped its wings. WHITE! It was a WHITE-WINGED SCOTER!!!! WOO HOO!! STATE BIRD!!! This beautiful Female White-winged Scoter cautiously swam closer and closer, and soon was close enough to get a photo using the built in camera on my new cell phone through the scope. What would that be called? . . . digicellscoping? celldigiscoping? cellular digiscoping?

A great day of local "patch" birding


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