Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Ducking Out!


Northern Shrike

Except for a few brief patches of blue, our skies have been overcast for the past several days. I birded Goose Pond and a few spots on Lake Mendota on Saturday, and then Governor Nelson State Park on Sunday. Birders in the area are reporting Northern Shrikes at various locations, including Pheasant Branch Conservancy. While photographing Tundra Swans at Goose Pond, I heard (then spotted) a shrike calling toward the west end of the pond near the railroad tracks.


Tundra Swan

There must have been over 300 Tundra Swans on the partially frozen pond, which is always a treat to see and hear. The waterfowl diversity was down compared to the previous weekend, but there were large numbers of Canada Geese and Mallards. Other birds included Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal, Gadwall, Greater White-fronted Geese, and a single Snow Goose.






Peregrine Falcon (back-left)

While scanning across the pond with my spotting scope at 25x, a bright red object caught my attention. Zooming in I discovered that it was a duck carcass being consumed by a Peregrine Falcon! Though the distance was substantial, I recorded a short video clip of the predator and its meal:



Goose Pond, Columbia, Wisconsin, US
Nov 11, 2017 1:30 PM - 2:20 PM
17 species

Snow Goose
Greater White-fronted Goose
Canada Goose
Tundra Swan
Gadwall
Mallard
Northern Pintail
Green-winged Teal
American Coot
Sandhill Crane
Ring-billed Gull
Peregrine Falcon
Northern Shrike
American Crow
Lapland Longspur
American Tree Sparrow
Common Grackle


Sandhill Crane

A pair of Sandhill Cranes near the entrance of Governor Nelson State Park.




Common Loon

The following day I went to Governor Nelson State Park to see what I could find on the North Bay section of Lake Mendota. I figured strong south winds might push waterfowl in that direction and I wasn’t disappointed. A quick binocular scan revealed a large raft of American Coots and several Common Loons, but a slower spotting scope scan through the coots yielded a Surf Scoter, Black Scoter, and Horned Grebe. Further out I spotted a Long-tailed Duck, the first I’ve seen on Lake Mendota in several years.


Black Scoter and Surf Scoter


Long-tailed Duck

Governor Nelson SP, Dane, Wisconsin, US
Nov 12, 2017 11:00 AM - 12:38 PM
38 species

Canada Goose
Tundra Swan
Northern Shoveler
Mallard
Canvasback
Redhead
Lesser Scaup
Surf Scoter
Black Scoter
Long-tailed Duck
Bufflehead
Common Goldeneye
Red-breasted Merganser
Ruddy Duck
Common Loon
Pied-billed Grebe
Horned Grebe
Bald Eagle
American Coot
Sandhill Crane
Killdeer
Bonaparte's Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Blue Jay
Black-capped Chickadee
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Winter Wren
American Tree Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Common Grackle
Pine Siskin
American Goldfinch

All images © 2017 Mike McDowell

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