Sunday, March 11, 2007

Spring is in the air - birding at Deer Creek Reservoir

The weather has finally started to change. We went from subfreezing to 50's (F) today. The sun was shining and everything. What better excuse than to do a birding excursion to a place that has been reported to have thousands of migrating waterfowl?

This was a scene along the Olentangy River on Thursday afternoon. Ice aprons skirting all of the trees along the bank. Those are gone now.

One of the harbingers of spring is the return of the Killdeer. We saw two at the Beach at Deer Creek State Park.

We were hoping to see tundra or muted swans. We didn't see any in the water, but saw this flock flying in the distance. I can't determine which species we're seeing, but they were fun to watch.

The reservoir had many horned grebes. Some were starting to show their breeding plumage. This one hasn't changed as of yet.

The ducks were pretty far away from shore. It was hard to see exactly what was out there with the binoculars. We used a Televue telescope as a spotting scope and saw a lot more detail on the ducks.

In this picture you can see a lot of ring-necked ducks, some lesser scaup and a canvas back there in the background. That's a new one for me.

Redheads were in abundance, too and we saw pleny of mallards, Canada goose, a couple of Northern Pintails, Redbreasted merganser, American coots and some miscellaneous fowl. . .

including a pied bill grebe.

This is a pair of lesser scaup.

American coot.

A few American Wigeon there in the front.

This horned grebe was eating a fish. It's also acquiring its breeding plumage now.

We also saw a lot of buffleheads out there today. The males have a large patch of white, the females have a horizontal oval white patch on the face.

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