On the 20th, I headed back over to Moores Park. I didn't find anything new, but I did find and photograph a beautiful, close-up Horned Grebe, a species I'd already seen but had not been able to photograph:
|This photo seems to show a rounded bill base, a Tundra Swan feature.|
|Two GORGEOUS male goldeneyes|
|All four male Redheads|
|Part of the crowd at Island Park|
|One of the Greylag Geese|
|Umm, excuse me, I want food. NOW, MISTER.|
|My favorite part was their blue eyes.|
Among the normal Mallards there were several odd domestic breeds, such as
At the edge of the open water I found a great surprise: a dense flock of mostly diving ducks, including a few that I had not yet seen this year. Present in the flock were all three mergansers, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye, a male scaup, and an American Wigeon. The wigeon was a female, so nothing spectacular—except that she put my January list of waterfowl on the Red Cedar and Grand Rivers at 20! I found it hard to believe that I'd managed to see 20 species of waterfowl on two shallow inland rivers in less than a month.
As I got a little closer, I could make out a tiny duck with a stiff, pointy tail and a white cheek patch. It was a Ruddy Duck, a great bird on the Grand River and number 21! When I got a little closer, the entire flock took off before I could take my already-freezing hands out of my gloves again to take pictures. The only bird that stayed behind when the flock took off was a female Red-breasted Merganser:
Darn, I thought. But then, while they were flying away, I realized that the male scaup had a LOT of white on his wings. It came almost all the way out to the outer primaries—much more than a Lesser. It was a Greater Scaup, number 22! Even better, I had now seen all of Michigan's Aythya species—Redhead, Canvasback, Ring-necked Duck, and both scaup—on the rivers this month. I could not believe my luck!
The Greater Scaup was a great way to end—I will be heading up to Conserve School tomorrow! While I'm there, I promise to blog about the magic of the boreal forest.
Happy January everyone!