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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Birding Third Lagoon

We've had strange weather the last couple of days. In the morning it is gray, dismal, and foggy, and it looks like it's going to stay that way until about 2 in the afternoon when the sun finally burns through.  Usually our summer morning fog burns off by noon or so, leaving the whole region clear. These last two days, it gets bright and sunny over the island for a couple of hours, but remains socked in over the water.

Katie and I went for an afternoon walk down at Third Lagoon, cameras in hand. On the way there I had to pull over to photograph this bathing northern flicker - probably my best photo of the day:

The lagoon itself was pretty quiet at first. There was a small flock of pigeon guillemots in winter plumage out in the middle of the bay, and also a couple of red-necked grebes - my first of the winter season. I suspect it won't be too long until the horned grebes and bufflehead join them. 

This great blue heron was the only one in the lagoon. There was a thin layer of fog lifting off from the lagoon, giving the scene an almost mystical look:

Towards the end of the beach we spotted some harlequin ducks in the distance. We quietly made our way closer, and stopped along the way to take a look at this savannah sparrow:

By the time we had gotten our sparrow pictures, the harlequin ducks were on to us and were floating further away. We decided to take the shoreline trail which winds up the cliffs overlooking the bay, and this turned out to be a great idea because it gave us an even better, almost aerial view of the harlequin ducks. There were more than 15 of them, and from this vantage point we could see them underwater as they dove to feed. This photo shows two ducks on the surface, with three more just under the water diving down:

They looked pretty comical as they popped back to the surface. It was awesome to watch:

There must have been something good to eat down there, because a couple of surf scoters came over to join them:

While we were watching the ducks and scoters, a belted kingfisher flew by. We walked back through the forest where there wasn't much bird activity, but we did hear a bald eagle and also some red-breasted nuthatches.

1 comment:

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

More good stuff there - luv those underwater harlequins.
Please put those surf scoters in the post.