Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Early Brrrr...I mean Birding

Back on March 20th, when winter was still showing only a few signs of departing, I got a bit of cabin fever and decided to drive up to the south end of Seneca Lake and Watkins Glen do see what birds were on the water. It was a mostly sunny day with the temperature in the upper 30s and I knew from having driven through that area the week before that the lake was pretty much ice free with only a bit showing up to clog the few bays and inlets so things were promising. What I didn't count on was a fairly strong--and cold--wind out of the north-northwest that brought the wind chill down to near ten degrees.

While there were lots of Ringnecked Ducks and Canada Geese along with a few grebes, Mallards and assorted others bottled up on the south end of the lake, it was the huge number of Ring-billed Gulls on the ice and the breakwaters that impressed.

They were also the only birds I got close enough to to get a halfway decent photo.

Ring-billed Gull testing the waters of Seneca Lake on March 20th.

Too Cold!!

The Ring-bill is the most common gul of the Twin Tiers, BTW.

On the way south from Watkins Glen to the Aerie I decided to check out the Hammond-Tioga Lake area. While Hammond Lake was pretty much completely ice covered, and Tioga had just a small open area near the weir/connector to Hammond Lake, the spillway was wide open and running high and turbulent. There were a couple of immature Bald Eagles taking advantage of the wounded fish that would occasionally float up but they were w-a-a-a-y over there when I arrived and stayed out where a 300mm lens wasn't going to help.

There was one Great Blue Heron, however that seemed to pose along the spillway. For a short time anyway.

Great Blue Heron along the spillway in Tioga.

Great Blue takes off as I made too much noise(?)

Great Blue aborts his flight...

...only to discover the water's deeper than he thought!

GBH takes off to more isolated fishing grounds. (i.e. somewhere I am not.)

Amazing wingspan on the GBH as he continues to trail his landing gear.

I never see one of these guys in flight that I don't think of the Bugs Bunny cartoon with the buzzards slowly flapping their wings.

(From "Bugs Bunny Gets the Boid" which I can not find in its entirety.) 

"I'm bringing home a baby bumble bee...."

That's All Folks!

More photos tomorrow.

1 comment:

threecollie said...

Great shots! Always love to read your bird posts...well, all your posts, but especially the bird ones. lol