Sunday, December 6, 2009

Beginning of Winter Birds

Saturday, I went out for another round trip of birding. It felt like a good day from the start, we had crazy weather and snow so somethings had to be moving about.

First, I wandered around Columbia Falls to see if the waxwings/grosbeaks had maybe started to trickle in.... they haven't started yet. I did see many Rock Pigeons.....

Next stop was the county landfill, of course!! The mandatory stop for birding in the winter, you can't bird a day in the valley without stopping there. But the one thing about landfills isn't the smell, it's too darn cold to smell anything. It's that the area keeps changing. They have to keep burying the garbage and to the gull-viewing areas and the gull roosting sites keep changing. Sometimes they work together and they roost in good areas, but like now, they "gull" area isn't quite optimal for viewing form the non-restricted areas. This makes for the inconsistent viewing of the gulls, and a real rarity could slip through. I did get to see some gulls.

There were more Herring Gulls, (above photo) and less California Gulls and still MANY Ring-billed Gulls. Also, had a few Mew Gulls. I am sure this is a first-year Mew, but am not sure.

Ring billed Gull (above)
Common Raven tracks (below)

Young Herring Gull (above)
After viewing the gulls I was about to leave, but this gull caught my eye. Very Mew Gull like, but had a light-ish eye and blue-green legs and bill!! I first thought maybe a Mew x Ring-billed hybrid, but some quick research in "Gulls of the Americas" found that 2nd-cycle nonbreeding plumage Mew Gulls look just like this one. But that doesn't explain the light eye. It wasn't like really light, but a lot more then a normal Mew but still hard to see in my photos....

After my gull fun, I wandered down the west valley (again) and this time came across a nice flock of Bohemian and Cedar Waxwings

I like this shot of the 2 species right near each other. A great education shot on identifying the 2.
Next was the lower valley, just north of Flathead Lake. The clouds over the lake were quite interesting....This is looking south to the lake.
Not much down here, but a number of Rough-legged Hawks. Got some great shots of one perched, then of a second bird as it took off! Enjoy!

No comments:

Post a Comment