Thursday, February 6, 2014

Birding the Icepocalypse

The office where I work rarely closes for weather.  But yesterday they did, so I took advantage and scoped out the river again.  While everyone else was dealing with Icepocalypse, I was the lone birder.

I took care to stay out from under the trees.  Plenty of branches had already come down and more were doing so as I watched.  We had anywhere from a quarter to a half inch of ice that fell on trees already covered with snow.  

 But, yes, the birds.  A fellow birder in town posted what she had seen the day before at 3:00 in the afternoon.  Then, the storm lasted most of the night and next morning.  I saw virtually the same birds in the same numbers as she did; I assume the weather kept them grounded.

This is a red-necked grebe, one of a pair that have stayed in the area for a few days now.  I don't think I've seen this species in this county until now.

 Among the ducks, scaup (about 30) and goldeneye (about 50) were the most common.  Bufflehead and canvasbacks were around in smaller numbers.  Here's a group of scaup, with the Columbia River Park as a backdrop.

As I watched the goldeneye (who unfortunately were always as far from shore as possible), I noticed many of them were gyrating.  I knew goldeneye perform courting dances that would break lesser ducks' backs, but I didn't think I'd see them in action.

This isn't high quality footage, but good enough for being taken at 100X digital zoom, with only my camera resting on my scope, which was on a tripod, for stabilization.

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