Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Hooded merganser (male)
After the horse roundup I wrote about in yesterday’s post, I proceeded on to the Susquehanna River to do my planned new year’s birding. Overall, I had a successful, if not an outstanding day. I ended up with 33 species of birds, well short of the 40 I believe is possible in York County in early January. High winds kept the count of little birds less than I’d hoped; high water kept me from reaching one area where I’d planned to bird heavily, and a variety of duck species were also nowhere to be found.

2nd year Bald Eagle

That said, the day was certainly not without some great sightings (if not great photos). My first not great photo today is of a male hooded merganser. Many people think the male wood duck is the prettiest North American duck, but the male hooded merganser can’t be far behind. These little diving ducks are pretty shy, too, so I was glad to get any photo at all, especially since I was shooting from inside the car and from across a road. After a few shots I tried to get closer, and all that accomplished was that the duck slipped out of sight and hid in the underbrush.

My second photo today is of a young bald eagle, likely a second year bird. It was high and soaring in less than optimal light, so the markings are not as distinct as I’d like. Bald eagles can virtually be counted as common these days, a fact I still find amazing. Back in the bad old days after DDT, bald eagles were rare in the east. Seeing one was a cause for a major celebration. Now, in migration I’ve had days when I’ve seen more than 20 in a single day. And on this trip I saw 2, both younger birds.

So my 2012 York County bird list is started, if not yet firing on all cylinders. Next, I need to concentrate on finding some of those missing ducks and sparrows!


Woodswalker said...

Lovely shot of the Hoodie! I see them on the river all winter, but always far beyond camera range.

Carolyn H said...

Woodswalker: the hoodie was a tad too far for my 300mm lens, too, but like you I don't get to see them very close too often. I have a whole cabinet of bad bird photos taken simply because I doubt I'll get another chance at even a bad photo of some uncommon bird.

ramblingwoods said...

Love the hoodies and I only see them in migration on the pond..Have had woodies and we have a nesting box...