The magic word for birders. So maybe it wasn’t of the same magnitude as they get on the coast, where huge storms cause migrating birds to frantically flee to shore before they are blown so far out to sea that they perish from exhaustion, but still, we did get an decent influx of birds overnight at the lake. I almost didn’t go out this morning because it was so windy and damp, but I did and I’m glad of it.
There was a good variety of waterfowl out today–a few Mallards and Northern Pintails, a couple of Ruddy Ducks, some Gadwalls and Buffleheads, and scores of Ring-billed Gulls. I haven’t seen any of the American Coots (fixtures at the `Stillin’ Basin this winter) for a week or so but they were there this morning, as was a beautiful Great Blue Heron. There has been a rather large crowd of American White Pelicans and their entourage of Double-crested Cormorants off of Fritch Fortress but today they were scattered over the entire lake–a couple even in the little bay by the dam where I’ve never seen them. Blue-winged Teals, American Wigeons, Lesser Scaups, and Eared Grebes were also feeding there. Mixed in with the Ring-billed Gulls on the south end of the lake were about a dozen Franklin’s Gulls, strutting around in their black skull caps. Also on the south end were even more of the American Avocets sweeping the shallow water of the extended mud flats with their long up-turned bills, accompanied by several dozen other waders that I was unable to approach close enough to identify. I was only out for about two hours before it started raining again, but it was a very enjoyable time.