[CT Birds] BARROW'S GOLDENEYE and other Penfield sightings....
b.webster at hotmail.com
Fri Mar 5 11:13:21 EST 2010
3/5, Penfield Reef, Fairfield @7:00-9:50am-
The recent storms prevented the reef from becoming totally exposed (actually, no less than 6" in the middle spot), so it was a good thing I had my knee-high waders! It was worth it though, as I had a few good birds out there.
Here is a list of my sightings during my time out on the reef:
(1) female BARROW'S GOLDENEYE (thanks to Charlie Barnard for confirming my suspicions by phone)
(1) 1st winter LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL
(1) adult ICELAND GULL
(3) Great Cormorants
(3) Common Loons
(1) Red-throated Loon
(13) Horned Grebes
(900+) Common Goldeneye
(600+) Greater Scaup
(2) Lesser Scaup scoped in the mix (man those rafts of Scaup get tight!)
(90+) Long-tailed Ducks
(25) Red-breasted Mergansers
The female BARROW'S was in with the larger of the Goldeneye rafts (though it really was just one long one), to the east of the reef, about 1/2 way down, near a marker with a red flag. In my scope, the stubby and all yellow bill was obviously different than the females near her. In my notes I wrote 'shape of head seems 'taller' and 'larger'... stubby, all yellow bill (stubby without comparing to female Commons).... and that it seemes slightly smaller than the female Commons. By slightly, I mean... sssssllliiiigggghhhtttlllyy.
Gulls numbers were over the 4 digit mark, probably right around 1000, with the ratios being about 75% Herring, 20% Ring-bill, and 5% GBBG.
The duck numbers were great... at one point, since they were constantly moving, most of them congregated in the middle area (pretty close to shore) to the east of the reef. At that time, there were easily over 1000 ducks.... made up mostly of Goldeneye and Scaup, but 2 male Buffleheads were in one raft (away from the main flock of about 15 that were near the shore), and a few RB Mergs were loosly associating with the giant group. Unfortunately, a fisherman of some sort (I think he was either checking traps or catching oysters/clams or something) walked about 100 yards out into the water, flushing a flying flock of over 700 birds, and forcing the rest back out towards the end of the reef.
Also, at the end of the reef were 6 Harbor seals. I also got to watch a GBBG gobble down, what looked like a winter flounder (flat fish about 7-8" long) on a rock on the end of the reef.
I just wish it stopped snowing on my walk in, not my walk out!! Conditions got better as the water level grew upon my boots.
*** The Brant were all lined up along the reef, then one started honking.... then a few more... then several... then most... then they all took off. It was like a leader said 'Almost...'. Then a few said 'Now?'. Then more said 'Soon??' Then they all said, 'Ok, NOW!'. Then they all flew off together. Really neat little experience.***
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