Monday, February 19, 2007

Birding in the snow

Steve and the kids had a holiday today. Unfortunately, OSU doesn't celebrate President's Day and so I had to go to work. I did come home an hour early, though, and Steve and I went to Grigg's Reservoir to do some birding. Steve had gone there earlier and had seen a Hooded Merganser. I wanted to see one, too, so we went back to the same spot to look again.

This is the dam at Grigg's Reservoir. Ice covers the river above the dam, but the water is mostly ice-free below the dam. The ice won't last more than a few days from now. We are finally out of the cold snap we've had for the past three weeks. The weather warmed up to 41°F today. I accidentally strayed onto a patch of ice on the river and it made a resounding "crack," which was enough to make me hop upslope in a jiffy.

We saw two Great Blue Herons fishing at the top of the dam.

This is a poor picture of an American Black Duck. I sometimes see these ducks at Mirror Lake on the OSU campus, but Steve hadn't seen one before.

What's this? I stopped along the river to take some photos and this little fellow snuck up behind me to nibble on my boot. He was looking for a handout, but we didn't have anything to share with him.

Sorry, but all I have in my pocket is another camera lens.

On to the next sucker, I mean, kind-hearted soul.

Nothing here, either. Sorry, little mallard. You'll have to go dabble in the river like all of your fellow ducks.

There were a couple of kingfishers working the river, too. This one was on a branch across the river from us, so it's not a very good photo.

Here's another new duck species for our list. These are Lesser Scaups. I love the bright blue bills they have.

They're smaller than mallards, but are kind of similar in appearance when seen from a distance. The lighter color of body and the blue bills and dark head give them away when you seen them in the binoculars.

Here's the prettiest bird of the day, and another new one for the life list. This is a male Hooded Merganser. We also saw a couple of females.

What a beauty.

There were hundreds of Canada Geese and dozens of Mallards hanging out on the river today.

A fisher of the human sort - taking his chances below the dam.

A Great Blue Heron doing the same atop the dam. I saved this as a black & white photo rather than color.

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