Saturday, February 6, 2016

Waterfowl Insanity on Rondeau Bay

With all the reports of crazy numbers of Snow Geese around Shrewsbury this week, I was anxious to get down to Rondeau Bay today.  I arrived at Shrewsbury at first light.

Jim and I could only pick out 9 Snow Geese at that time among the thousands of other birds.  Most ducks were Canvasback with some Redhead, scaup and only a few Mallard, Gadwall and a pair of Northern Pintail.

The Snow Geese constantly move around.  Late in the day they head to fields east of Raglan.  Late yesterday Allen Woodliffe estimated 160!!  Certainly a modern-day record for Rondeau.

The number of swans and geese is crazy for this time of year.  If it was mid-March it would be more normal.  Lots of Canvasback on the Bay.  Virtually none on the St. Clair River this winter!

The bulk of the Snow Geese were somewhere else first thing, so we moved on.
Ridgetown Lagoons was a good stop early in the day, and we found the 12 Greater White-fronted Geese in the southerly pond.  Lighting was not good for photos.  As luck would have it, they flew to the pond near the treatment building after we left for good close views.

Photo by Sharon and Deryl Nethercott

Four Snow Geese were in the north pond among a few Canada Geese.

We checked out Rondeau Park--mainly the campground where we finally found a Yellow-rumped Warbler (certainly not an "Audubon's"!) at the north end with some Golden-crowned Kinglets.  A Fox Sparrow was also further south in the campground.
Some waxwings were around, but they were Cedars.  The cinnamon butts remain absent....

The rest of the park was somewhat quiet.
Rondeau Bay is almost completely open, highly unusual for this time of year.  No ducks on the Rondeau side.

Late morning I went back to Shrewsbury.  Right timing!  About 120+ Snow Geese were circling to the easterly side of the dock, and finally landed.

I tried counting, but an accurate count was impossible and I could not get the whole flock in one photo.

I did notice a couple of smallish ones, but too distant to tell if they were Ross's.
Once the flock land on the ice with the swans, it was even worse to try and count.

A lone American Coot was off the dock end.  They are not rare in C-K anymore for winter.

On the other side of the dock, I watched swans for some time.  Strangely enough, Bewick's Swan was on my mind.  Suddenly I found this bird....

(highly cropped)

Very weird.  The yellow on the bill's base matches "Bewick's", but the rest of the bill was pinkish-orange.  Later, Jim Burk found the bird and said the legs were yellowish.  Could this be a leucistic swan?  Even rarer, a leucistic "Bewick's"?  Opinions are welcome.

To knock your socks off, later, Reuven Martin and Pilar Manorome apparently found a real "Bewick's" Swan to the easterly side of the dock! I got that email while I was in Chatham.

I also briefly checked Erieau since late yesterday a photo of a Harlequin Duck was posted on Facebook.  We found the bird today in Rondeau Bay, viewed from the government dock.  It was quite distant when I saw it though.  It is a young male and likely the same bird from a couple of weeks ago.


What to do tomorrow?  St. Clair River looks boring.

No comments:

Post a Comment