Friday, January 30, 2015

Great Bay Blvd 1/30--Merlin

Birding is just like life: Every day you go out hoping something great will happen. It hardly ever does but there's always the possibility that keeps you going. If something great doesn't occur, then perhaps, at the least, something interesting appear. That's slightly more likely, because "interesting" takes in a wide swath (remember the apocryphal Chinese curse).

All this leads up to the last bird I saw on Great Bay Blvd this morning. It was just over the freezing line but very windy, so I suspect a lot of birds were hunkering down. I saw 5 species of ducks, but nothing that I'd get excited about--exasperated, yes, in the case of the scaup flock that sat just far enough off shore to make identification a real chore, especially with the scope vibrating in the wind.

After checking the inlet twice and finding nothing new for the year or even the county, I was driving back north up the road when I glanced to my left and saw, sitting on a post, a Merlin. Not great, but interesting, especially since it didn't seem to mind me staring it, although as soon as I rolled down the window to take a picture, it disappeared.  Exasperated again!
Merlin in flight
At least I got out and took a decent walk today. It was the most pleasant day of the week. For my 2 hours on the Boulevard of Broken Asphalt I managed 17 species, a decent winter count.
Brant  90
Canada Goose  20
American Black Duck  18
Greater Scaup  200
Lesser Scaup  2
Bufflehead  55
Red-breasted Merganser  6
Great Blue Heron  1
Turkey Vulture  1
Northern Harrier  1
Ring-billed Gull  5
Herring Gull  15
Great Black-backed Gull  5
Merlin  1
European Starling  150
Yellow-rumped Warbler  2
Boat-tailed Grackle  225     Huge numbers of Boat-tailed Grackles are not uncommon here. Had a flock of about 100 at first bridge (new bulkhead), a 2nd large flock near first wooden bridge, then about 25 on the beach of the inlet. Many starlings were mixed in, but I accounted for them.

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