Saturday, March 9, 2013

Scaup, Buffleheads, Snipe and Bald Eagles



I spent this morning with the Howard County Bird Club on the Waterfowl Search organized by a member. We toured the lakes around Columbia and the county in hopes of spotting something other than the usual mallards and Canada geese. There were plenty of mergansers around, and Lakes Elkhorn and Centennial yielded scaup, ringnecked ducks, buffleheads, killdeer and an odd mallard hybrid. A rare Wilson's snipe, a kind of sandpiper, has been spotted by one of the club members on the mud around the islands at the western end of Centennial, but it eluded us today.

We also investigated Lake Kittamaqundi, and my photo at the top of this post shows my view towards the north end with bird club members in frame.

A final stop at Brighton Dam on the Triadelphia Reservoir presented a show of bald eagles, young and mature -- but powerful binoculars and scopes were needed to really appreciate them.

An annual event at the Reservoir which usually can be witnessed earlier in the winter is the feeding frenzy of thousands of common mergansers with bald eagles dive-bombing them. Are the eagles preying on the mergansers themselves or swiping the fish caught by them?

The Bird Club's monthly meeting at the Robinson Nature Center is coming up this Thursday....http://howardbirds.org/

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My snapshot of a song sparrow at Lake Elkhorn. Not waterfowl, perhaps, but we were taking note of anything that showed up.

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