On my rounds today, I stopped by Blenheim Lagoons to check for lingering birds. There was quite a bit of ice, but some open areas. Most notable of course was the Western Sandpiper. It has been present for a full month and is certainly pushing the envelope.
Actually it did not look good as it often hobbled around on one leg. I soon got close enough to see that the feet or toes were encased in ice.
Five Dunlin were also present. Yesterday Steve Charbonneau reported 15. Perhaps the other ten finally made a wise decision and headed south!
The Western Sandpiper could very well be doomed since it has been here too long and winter is coming in with a vengeance this week. Ice on the feet was not a good sign.
Pond 3 was wide open and contained many ducks. The Northern Shovelers were still present (~130), as were some Green-winged Teal, ~175 Mallard, a couple of Black, one male Northern Pintail And Bufflehead and Ruddy.
While leaving the lagoons, I received a message about an apparent King Eider off Morpeth. I rushed over and saw the alleged duck. We thought it was a young King Eider, but further analysis revealed it was a Surf Scoter--one of the weirdest looking ones I have ever seen. Eiders are very rare in these parts so we do not get much experience with them!
Jim Burk sent out an Ontbirds message retracting the sighting, so case is closed. However, it is a good location for a King Eider, especially with all the scaup, etc. currently present. King Eider has been recorded there in the past though.
We all make mistakes (or at least most of us!), but we try our best.