Waterbird Count, March 28 (First day with sunlight)

This morning I was greeted by an unfamiliar sight at my observation post: a lake with snow and ice piled up on shore reflecting the morning rays of the sun.  The sky was mostly overcast in the beginning, but quickly cleared up.  The first hour did not yield too many waterfowl- but a lot of gulls, and with the sun out it made them much easier to see.  The next hour it clouded over, and continued to do so until around 11:00 AM, after which the sky continued to clear throughout the day.  Along with the rising sun, the temperature was increasing throughout the day from 34 °F in the morning to 42 °F in the afternoon.  Today had a few firsts for the season:  the first White-winged Scoter for this year was sighted at around 8:00 AM followed by eleven more spread throughout the day.  A pair of Bufflehead were also seen flying west at around 10:00 AM.  Additionally, a couple of Killdeer were heard and seen flying north at approximately 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM respectively.  The raptor activity did not pick up until midday, and there was a fair number seen flying north along the bridge.  Thanks to the dramatic increase in temperature from today alone, the ice could be heard shifting and melting throughout the day, raising optimism for this waterbird counter.

Canada Goose – 54
Greater Scaup – 2
White-winged Scoter – 12
Long-tailed Duck – 34
Bufflehead – 639
Common Goldeneye – 6
Common Merganser – 31
Red-breasted Merganser – 394
duck sp. – 57

Other Species:
Bald Eagle – 3
Rough-legged Hawk – 2
Killdeer – 1

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