Monday, March 14, 2016
Currently on Kittamaqundi ~~ eBird
The spring migration is in full swing now, and birders are watching the local lakes for migratory waterfowl passing through on the way to summer breeding areas. Lake Kittamaqundi gets some regular visitors, and, in spite of being sandwiched between Route 29 and Town Center development, it can turn up some surprises. Yesterday, six lesser scaup were on the lake, and they were still here this morning. Scaup are in the genus Aythya along with the canvasback and ring-necked ducks, which we sometimes see on the lake, too.
More surprising to me was the male wood duck mixing with them yesterday. He couldn't keep up and eventually separated from the group and moved to the south end of the lake. Wood ducks seem to prefer more secluded ponds and pools surrounded by trees. Hopefully, he will find more of his kind nearby -- we have been seeing them recently!
Lake Kittamaqundi in silver and bronze this morning...The pied-billed grebe pictured below apparently arrived overnight. That's my sign that spring has arrived (and fall, when it first appears during that migration).
The lesser scaup enjoy the lake this morning. They are divers (as is the grebe above), so be quick with your camera if they are feeding -- or get a nice shot of a rump going under.
I recently became a participant on eBird, the bird-watching database managed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Audubon. Lake Kittamaqundi and the other lakes and various parks in Columbia and Howard County all are official hotspots on eBird. I document my sightings there now with other birders, which helps my personal records and the ornithologists. Most birders around here probably are familiar with the database. See eBird in the Nature and Wildlife Link in the blog's margin, if you want more information.