Friday, March 14, 2014

Assunpink 3/14--Trumpeter Swans, Hairy Woodpecker

Countable, shmountable, its my list and I wanted to get the Trumpeter Swans (unknown provenance) which reappeared this week after leaving (parts unknown) when Assunpink Lake froze over in January (ice 10 inches thick, according to a fisherman I was talking to today). They weren't hard to find on the eastern end of the lake. Unfortunately, during my time there, they were sleeping on the ice, though occasionally one would lift its head for a moment (showing the field mark of its knobless, black bill) look around, decide there was no reason to get up and tuck it's head back into its wings.
3 Trumpeter Swans with 1 Mute Swan (middle)
I had 13 species of ducks on the lake and that's with no Ruddy Ducks, usually a gimme there. The previously reported Eurasian Wigeon was a no show, despite my search from 4 vantage points. However, while checking out the ducks by the beaver dam to the east of the sleepy swans, I did see one Green-winged Teal with a red head and a horizontal white stripe on its flank, my 2nd Eurasian sub-species this week. I wish the others with me could have seen it, but it floated behind the dam and never came back out. The most interesting ducks to me were the 3 Redheads mixed in with the Ring-necked Ducks seen from the boat launch parking lot.
Other notable birds found wandering around: A 3rd year Bald Eagle (left, which I originally mistook for an Osprey because of the stripe on its face), my first Hairy Woodpecker of the year, and 5 White-crowned Sparrows in their reliable spot, the farm driveway just outside of the WMA's boundaries. What they find so attractive about this driveway I don't know, but they are always there. The farm also has Helmeted Guineafowl running loose, but those are definitely not countable.

Having just put new shocks on the car, I wasn't inclined to drive the dirt roads, but driving the supposedly paved road between the boat launch and the old HQ was worse than any dirt road in the WMA. The potholes were so deep and the broken pavement so extensive, that it was a case of go 2 mph or bottom out or worse, since our Saturn Ion has been recalled (awaiting parts) because a jarring bump can turn off the car. That adds a little frisson of excitement while driving.

41 species and 1 sub-species for the morning:

Canada Goose  300
Mute Swan  3
Trumpeter Swan  3    
Wood Duck  15    three on marsh on Imlaystown Road, a dozen on east side of lake
Gadwall  1
American Wigeon  25
American Black Duck  5
Mallard  50
Northern Pintail  40
Green-winged Teal  20
Green-winged Teal (Eurasian)  1    
Redhead  3   
Ring-necked Duck  50
Lesser Scaup  1    In with RNDU
Bufflehead  8
Hooded Merganser  15
Common Merganser  70
Great Blue Heron  2
Cooper's Hawk  1
Bald Eagle  1    
Killdeer  1    Field across from burnt house
Herring Gull  2
Rock Pigeon   1
Mourning Dove  5
Red-bellied Woodpecker  3
Downy Woodpecker  1
Hairy Woodpecker  1
Northern Flicker  2
Blue Jay  6
Carolina Chickadee  3    Heard
Tufted Titmouse  2    Heard
White-breasted Nuthatch  2    Heard
American Robin  150
European Starling  25
Song Sparrow  1    Heard
White-throated Sparrow  1
White-crowned Sparrow  5   
Dark-eyed Junco  1    Imlaystown Road
Northern Cardinal  2    Males
Red-winged Blackbird  75
Common Grackle  10
Brown-headed Cowbird  2    In with RWBL, field across from burnt house

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