Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Evening Lakewatch, todays's list & finally nailed that duck !

Before  the story with the duck, a heads up about the south lakeshore in regards to warblers.

Typically as birds come through, they work or progress their way southward to get a start on the next night's flight unless they intend to stick around and eat aggressively ( in that case, good for the birders). Hence as they "bottom up" at the southern border of a park, they "stage" ** while getting the last snacks for fuel flight

As I went out for my duck pursuit with hopes THAT DUCK stuck around, I noted some nice warbler activity along the southern areas of the lake. Nothing rare but it's great to see warblers, regardless the species. A NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH (NOWA ) targeted an elm tree's suckers offshoots for bug snacks and later , I found this same NOWA tailing a PALM WARBLER on the lawn, one of two I saw, both western race. Above , BLACKPOLL WARBLERS , CAPE MAY with REDSTARTS , while below, I am always glad to see YELLOW WARBLERS, these being 2 juveniles on the willow branches that touched the water at Three Sister Islands. You see the potential of the south lakeside, so a good checkup for fall birding and "to leave no stone unturned" .

Now the duck.Earlier,I thought likely a Blue-winged Teal was the bird based on a blackish bill. The drawback then was harsh light can distort plumage coloration,lousy power bins for a distant bird, and sleepiness ( by THAT DUCK) don't do you any good identifying a bird. So with a scope , I was ready. There was though no sign of THAT DUCK first found by Keir early this morning. A retreat after watching warblers in the tall Bald Cypresses by the lake drain , then another look at the lake while someone was smoking weed near me, the guy "well hidden " in the Octagonal woods area;   Obviously the "weed" a.k.a Cannabis bothered me. But I just have to find THAT DUCK without getting "high".

And there it comes.. The bird a.k.a. "THAT DUCK" came from around the Peninsula tip, sailed in front of me 200 feet away towards Three Sisters, with excellent light upon it and great views. 

After confirmation with the advance Waterfowl field guide (Steve Madge and Hilary Burn authors) , I settled on a juvenile LESSER SCAUP, based on very slightly peaked head, smaller body size  and slimmer profile comparative to the hunkier Greater Scaup . The only thing that was out of whack was the bill color, too dark  when it should be a bluish tint.  I learned my lesson. 

Oh, before I forget, other ducks, much much easier to identify today were 5 NORTHERN SHOVELERS and unexpected for me this evening, on the shore behind Three Sisters, two AMERICAN WIGEONs, hens that drifted away from me as I swung by. Thanks guys (and gals)  for making life easier for me, being so close and quickly identifiable...

**Stage --congregate or gather, usually into treetops for eventual takeoff.

List below ( note Eve Lake watch, 615 pm to 740 pm)

date = 2013/09/18
site = Prospect Park
observers = Peter D

Double-crested Cormorant Evewatch Lake 
Black-crowned Night-Heron Juv on Three Sisters islands,eve
Green Heron south lake side cove,eve
Northern Shoveler 5 resting on west shore Lake , AM
Lesser Scaup Juvenile, based on slight peaked head, smaller size compared to Greater, evening confirmation scoped
American Black Duck 2
Canada Goose 59 Lake
American Wigeon 2 eveLakewatch, on shore behind Three Sisters
Mute Swan 
Merlin AM Butterfly meadow, PM later near Tennis House, female
Herring Gull 
Rock Pigeon 
Mourning Dove 
Chimney Swift 
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 2 back Lily Pool, jewelweed
Belted Kingfisher lake, then perched Three Sisters
Downy Woodpecker 
Northern Flicker 2 Butterfly Mead
Eastern Wood-Pewee 
House Wren 
American Robin 
Gray Catbird 
European Starling 
Yellow Warbler 2 low willow branches back Three Sisters, eve
American Redstart 5
Black-and-white Warbler 4
Blackpoll Warbler 3 eve  south lakeside
Ovenbird eve  south lakeside, 3 sisters
Black-throated Green Warbler eve  south lakeside
Common Yellowthroat 4 eve  south lakeside
Cape May Warbler eve  south lakeside
Palm Warbler 4 ground eve  south lakeside
Nashville Warbler Butterfly Mead, also obs Ed Crowne
Northern Waterthrush eve  south lakeside, near 3 sisters
Yellow-rumped Warbler west shore Lake
Northern Cardinal 
Indigo Bunting Butterfly Meadow juve
Blue Grosbeak Butterfly Meadow, female, first spotter Keir Randall, then me.
Red-winged Blackbird 
American Goldfinch