Mt Pleasant News

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Neighbors Growing Together | Nov 20, 2017

Keeping Watch - March Migration 3/25/12 

By Steve Wilson | Mar 01, 2012
Photo by: Steve Wilson What's in a name? By its leaves - The Fawn Lily  By its petals - The Dog-toothed Violet  By its full effect - Beautiful. 

3/25/12, 69F Mostly sunny —

3/25/12 69 F Mostly sunny

Hilltop Wetlands: Blue-winged Teal and Woodies are regulars on the wetlands now. Canadas are nesting and a pair of Trumpeter Swans are staking out their claim. No Wood Duck eggs yet. Usually the first Woody egg is about 4/1 and they often get frozen. The Bullfrogs and Painted Turtles are enjoying basking in the sun today.

I forgot to mention the Toothworts, the Dutchman's Breetches, the Redbuds... (O, my yes the Redbuds. You can strip off a handful and fix 'em like fried morels. Like mushroom crumbs they are rich, even too rich, but one batch is good and Redbud Blossoms are easier to find than morels.) and don't miss seeing the Fawn Lillies (mottled leaves) -  these are striking dainty white lillies whose long slender drooping white petals led them to also be called Dog-toothed Violets. As the flowers open the petals curl upward.

I am such a sucker for Bluebells, Spring Beauties and Yellow Bellworts on the high ground I almost missed the Swamp Buttercups blooming in the river bottom. Their bright shiny yellow blossoms look artificial as if they have been shellacked.

I have to go get Grandma Joy, she has been babysitting Keira. We will check out Joy Lake on the way home.


3/24/12 66F


Yesterday a couple of Yellow Bellworts and now a couple of dozen. By Sunday the combination of the white blankets of the False Rue Anemones spread among the trees and the lush cover of the Bluebells cascading down the bluff accented by the bellworts down near the road should all come together to offer a spring flower extravaganza complete with Spring Beauties boasting their bright pink anters and fine stripped petals. Grab a wildflower book and take a slow Sunday drive from Oakland Mills to Faulkner's Access to view the glory of Creation spread on the floor of the oak/hickory forest at its spring time best.

Joy Lake still holds a bunch of Mallards along with a few Grebes, Coots, Gadwalls, Widgeon, divers, etc. We will take a closer look on Sunday. The Mallards, lined up along the west and north bank are almost invisible from the road without some optical assistance. 


What will it be, birds or blooms? Seems the wildflowers are on fast forward, not only are they blooming early but they are also dropping flowers quickly. The Snow Trilliums and Hepaticas at Oakland have all but disappeared on the north slope of cemetery hill while Bluebells now paint the bluff along the river road where just today we spotted our first Yellow Bellwort. A lonely Juneberry has exploded in white blossoms clinging to the bluff below the dam. Taking a slow drive from Oakland to Faulkner's Access and back again is a real treat this time of year.

Our birding started with the Winfield Ave borrow pit where we watched the Canada Geese grazing or just sitting in the sun of the peninsula. A group of 60 diving ducks comprised of Scaup and Ringnecks were on the water. Joy spotted 1 Pie-Billed Grebe and 1 Great Blue Heron.

We then moved on to the Walmart Wetland and once again it was a special treat. 3 species of shore birds made their appearance to include 1 Wilson's Snipe, 1 Lesser Yellowlegs and 1 Greater Yellowlegs. There was a pair of Mallards, 1 Piebilled Grebe, 10 pairs of Shovelers, 1 female Gadwall, 1 Coot and 1 pair of Blue-winged Teal along with the Canada Geese regulars.

From there we ventured to Joy Lake where we were greeted by the largest flock of Piebilled grebes we have seen this spring, all of 5. It seems they like to be alone a lot as seeing one here and there is a common occurence. 20 Coots were feeding a mix of puddle ducks today to include Gadwalls (10), Widgeon (7) and a few Mallards. Mallards were closely spaced around the edge of the lake with there being well over 200 birds. We also observed 4 pair of Ruddy Ducks, 1 pair of Redheads, 1 pair of Shovelers, and 1 pair of Ringnecks. I am a bit surprised at all of the Mallards hanging around.

I listened to a trilling American Toad singing his heart out yesterday. I have yet to hear my first Tree Frog. It is like spring is going to be over this years before it even gets off to a good start many years. I see blossom buds on the black Locust Trees and wonder what chance they will have to escape a "late" freeze. At this point the only thing to do is to hope this freaky spring will just keep being freaky all the way into May as any return to normal is going to be messy.   



3/20/12 The local grandsons got out of school after lunch so they joined me on a birding adventure. Then at 3:00 I picked up my youngest grand daughter at day care and all of us went out north of New London to watch the windmill and to estimate the tip speed. None of us could remember exactly how long each blade is so we timed the revolutions and put our final calculations on hold. 20 rpms.

Five cormorants at the Old Rome sand pit were the news for today along with 5 blue-winged teal at the Winfield Ave borrow pit. Otherwise duck and goose populations were steady to declining.

We stopped at a bridge to see if the swallows were back yet but we did not see any.

I saw what appeared to be a badger hit along side of the bypass. Too much traffic and not enough time to stop. I rarely see badgers and when I do they are generally dead along the road somewhere. What's with that?

The numbers of  Coots and Gadwalls Joy reported on Joy Lake yesterday were down to less than 100 about 50/50 Coots and Gadwalls.

3/19/12 Joy made the rounds today. At dusk she saw 325 dark ducks on Joy Lake that she presumed were a mix of Coots and Gadwalls. 6 Ruddy Ducks were close enough to get a positive ID on as we 20+ Shovelers and 2 Canadas.

At the Winfield Ave borrow pit a bit earlier she observed 8 Blue-winged Teal, 16 Canvasbacks, 50 Scaup and 30 Canada Geese.

I will be following up on the raft of dark ducks at Joy Lake this morning.

3/18/12 One Canada Goose sitting on six eggs.


3/16/12 Things got a bit crazy this afternoon.

I decided to take a nap before diving into some drive-line repair work on the truck. Joy interrupted my intentions to share a report from a birder of Snow Trilliums blooming in Iowa. See what happens once You start paying attention. First its birds and then flowers and then butterflies and then....  (Search Yahoo for flower pictures.)


Below on the 14th I noted no sign of trilliums or Hepaticas at Oakland Mills or Mud Creek Park. Today the bluff that falls from the cemetery to the road running from Franklin to the South-side facilities at the dam was alive with the white flowers of False Rue Anemones, the lovely Snow Trilliums and Hepaticas ranging from pure white to light blue, lavender and purple . These little guys pop up faster than morels. One Blood Root bloom, still wrapped up in its single palmated leaf, was standing ready to bloom, if not tomorrow, then Sunday.   

I stopped to talk "river" with some fishermen. They told me one Mud Puppy was caught this morning and returned to the water. YES! It is that time of the year. The Puppies are a threatened fully aquatic salamander in Iowa and we all do well to encourage our fishermen to help take care of them.

So then it was on to Mud Creek to see if this crazy weather was working similar magic down there. There were three car loads of folks there with kids playing a mock up version of volley ball and adults enjoying a beautiful day as they appeared to be getting ready to have an outdoor cookout. The waterfall along the road was especially happy today.

From the road we could not see any flowers but upon closer examination many closed buds were observed. A drive by tomorrow afternoon or Sunday should offer some delightful natural floral arrangements.

Heading back for home we decided to scope the Tweety Pond/Lake. This body of water just east of the quarry is quite an attraction for water birds of all kinds. You do need a good scope however, to make identifications. This evening we saw 5 Cormorants, 2 pr of displaying Buffleheads along with Ruddy Ducks, Canvasbacks, Redheads, Ringnecks, Shovelers, Mallards, Wood Ducks, Coots, Gadwalls and Scaup. Then I thought I heard a Trumpeter. I could not locate one so seeing Mrs. Tweedy was at home I decided to ask her if she had seen any swans on the lake. Not today but yes, occasionally was her reply. Screamer, one of the swans we released used to spend time there and obviously I need to stop by more often. I am guessing the lake was covered up with Greater White-fronted Geese earlier.

From there we decided to go past Heron Marsh on the way home. There were Woodies, Shovelers and Canada Geese there along with five deer.

I am sorry for being so windy today, but wow, what a day! Maybe I will get the truck fixed tomorrow.



The Walmart wetland continues to feature the Shovelers and the pair of Green Wings along with Killdeer, Mallards and Canada Geese. One lone female Bufflehead was also there this morning.

Both the variety and the numbers of waterfowl continue to gradually decline on the borrow pits with the exception of more Coots (25) on Joy Lake. The Mergansers that were there are gone and only one pair of Buffleheads remain with the 4 Ruddy Ducks, 1 Canvasback, 4 Redheads and 40 Scaup. Today Joy watched a Coot hold its own against two free loading Gadwalls as they attempted to steal his breakfast. I am amazed we do not see Coots doing more of this as Joy noticed that their sharp pointed bill makes a persuasive instrument. 

Coots are amazing in many respects. Like Canada Geese they create strong pair bonds. We had one Coot on our pond for eight years after his mate died in a collision with a nearby highline. We found her dead on the road. We keep a spot of open water in the winter and he is the only Coot to ever spend the winter with us, which he did every winter for those eight years. He was a constant fixture on the pond. Occassionally in the spring or fall other Coots would stop by for a few days and then take off but he would always stay behind. Finally he just disappeared leaving us to wonder not only where he went but too where such devotion came from. Perhaps he closed the loop on the answer.

The Wood Ducks are scouting out nesting sites.

If truck repairs go according to schedule Joy and I plan to drive by the Big Cedar bottom heron rockery again this week end since we observed a Great Blue Heron on the river below Oakland.

The Canadas continue to lay and the ganders keep busy arm wrestling each other.  

I just pinched my first wood tick of the season.

Still another May Day.

3/15/12 High side of 70F  South wind, party cloudy.

Joy watched three Trumpeter Swans fly over the house last night. We were anxious to check out the borrow pits this morning hoping they stopped in. No such luck.

There were 20 (+3 from yesterday) Coots serving up breakfast for 14 Gadwalls on Joy Lake. Joy noted one Coot was surrounded by 4 Gadwalls all anxious to help him devour the goodies he had pulled up from the bottom.

The east half of Joy Lake is 5-7 feet deep and the water is sufficiently clear to allow rooted submergent vegetation to grow on the bottom. You may have noticed the east half looks like it is covered with moss in the summer however, it is not moss (in the main) but the flowering of the submerged vegetation that covers the surface.

The submergent vegetation makes the lake attractive to the Coots and Gadwalls and also to the swans and the geese and the divers in the fall. The swans and geese graze down the vegetation until it is mowed off to a level below the reach of their long necks. The Coots dive to the bottom to thin the stand and feed the Gadwalls in the spring. A bit of goose poop and farm fertilizer run off keeps the cycle running.  

And by the way, the pair of Green-winged Teal are still on the Walmart wetland. The mix of ducks on the rest of the loop is holding steady while the total numbers are generally declining. Two Herring Gulls were resting with the Canadas on the Winfield Ave. borrow pit.

Another May day.


Happy Birthday Joy. 

Today I returned the favor and Joy and I went birding to celebrate her birthday. Thats right, one day a year (or call it two) I am as old as she is.

On the way to town we took the river road and noted a lone Piebilled Grebe sitting close to the bank. I backed up to get a better look. The little guy did not enjoy my attention and thus he decided to disappear by abruptly sinking just as if someone had let the air out of him or tied a rock to his foot. 

Our Mt.P loop started out fairly well with a dozen Shovelers spotted on the Walmart wetland. 10 males and two females- go figure. Maybe the males stake out nesting areas early on and the females show up a bit later?

There was also a pair of Green-winged Teal. These are our smallest duck. The pair were sitting on the bank and snuggled up as close as they could get making for a very cute couple.

The pair of Mallards and at least a pair of the Canada Geese on hand are likely to nest on site. I saw a Canada sitting on one of the muskrate huts in the back bay the other day.

Next we visited the Winfield Ave borrow pit. On the peninsula we saw several killdeer darting about along with several Canada Geese either grazing or soaking up the sun . There were dozens of divers to include Scaup, Ringnecks and Canvasbacks. Another bunch of Shovelers were there and once again the males out numbered the females this time 9 to 2. (some from Walmart?)We also spotted one Gadwall.

Moving on, once again the Brent borrow pit held a nice flock of Redheads, 15 this time. There were also something like 20 Scaup and 40 Ringnecked Ducks. 

Last year on Joy Lake we watched Coots feeding Gadwalls for several days. This is happening again now. Today there were 17 Coots doing the diving and 5 Gadwalls waiting to share the aquatic vegetation the Coots were bringing to the surface to eat. I see no advantage in this relationship for the Coots but they seem to be good sports about it anyway.

Yesterday a male joined the 3 female Common Mergansers but today he was gone again.  We found him, or perhaps his twin at the Old Rome Sand Pit later on. Joy spotted one pair of Ruddy Ducks and three pair of Buffleheads. In addition we saw One pair of Canvasbacks, 20 Canada Geese and several Ring-necked Ducks.

We ventured south then to Mud Creek and Geode looking for early spring flowers and more ducks respectively. To early for the hepaticas and so nice that several boats were on the water at Geode. Still we got to watch Canada Geese enjoying a lazy day on the upper end of the lake.

The Bald Eagle nest west of Mud Creek on 310th street has grown into a monster. The eagle on the nest was clearly visible with a spotting scope from the road.

Mix in a hair cut and a late start and the day is over already but what an awesome day it was. My question now is how much snow will we get on Easter?

3/13/12 Warm, clear, light breeze, 60+ F, southerly wind

I discovered two eggs in a Canada Goose nest late yesterday. That means the first egg was likely laid on the 10th. This pair is off to an early start.  

4 Common Mergansers on Joy Lake. Three females and one male.


Joy took me birding for my birthday today and arranged for my first sighting of the year of Blue-Winged Teal! Three pair on an oxbow wetland in the Big Cedar Creek bottom.

We had to drive beyond our daily limits but we managed to stay in Henry County.

On the loop around Mt. Pleasant we saw the following.

Wal-Mart:  Shovelers and Canada Geese

Brent Borrow Pit: 1 Ruddy, 20 Redheads, 12 Scaup, 25 Ring-necked Ducks, 1 Great Blue Heron.

Winfield Ave Borrow Pit, 25 Redheads, 10 Gadwalls, 20 Canvasbacks, 100 Scaup, 20 Ring- necks and 1 pair of Canadas.

Joy Lake: 3 Ruddys,  1 Redhead, 12 Scaup, 10 Buffleheads, 13 Ring-necks, 6 Coots, 3 Common Mergansers, and 1 Piebilled Grebe.

Old Rome Sand Pit, Nice bunch of Canada Geese, 2 Males and 1 Female Common Mergansers.


3/11 Henry County Welcomes Birds from the South and Birders from Jefferson County:


Therese Cummiskey of Jefferson County Conservation and SE Iowa Audubon Birders made the rounds of the Henry County borrow pits with me today and the numbers of both species and individuals rebounded to greet them.

The Wal-Mart storm water wetland held 2 Green Winged Teal, 7 Mallards, 1 Wilson's Snipe, 5 Shovelers, 1 Killdeer, and 10 Canadas.

The Winfield Ave borrow pit held a good mix of divers including a mix of Scaup, 10 Canvasbacks, 1 Herring Gull, 20 Canada Geese and 1 pr. of Shovelers.

Seeing no Redheads until visiting the Brent borrow pit made the flock of 30 Redheads gathered there a particularly pleasant surprise. A few Ring-necked Ducks, Buffleheads, some Mallards, 2 Gadwalls, and a couple of Shovelers all made their contribution to an exciting stop. A Bald Eagle was observed there earlier in the day giving the divers some exercise.

Joy Lake blossomed throughout the day and greeted the birders with gulls in the air and 3 Ruddy Ducks, nearly 100 Ring-necked Ducks, 7 Gadwalls, 2 Mallards, 3 American Widgeons, 1pr. of Shovelers, 3 Coots, 1 Pie-billed Grebe, 3 Common Mergansers (all females) and 4 Buffleheads. On the last trip past Joy Lake at least 200 more divers were riding the waves as dark clouds approached and light sprinkles began to fall. Still, no Blue-winged Teal. Chorus frogs serenaded the birders from the Joy Lake wetland. I remember Joy's Mom saying the frogs would be under glass (shell ice) 6 times after their first peep.

One female Goldeneye was observed below Oakland Mills earlier in the day.

Winneshiek Co Conservation Naturalist, Larry Reis, reporting for Cardinal Marsh in north east Iowa counted 400 Greater White-fronted Geese, 300 Snow Geese, 300 Canada Geese, 20 Wood Ducks, 40 Gadwall, 40 American Widgeon, 1500 Mallards, 4 Northern Shovelers, 200 Northern Pintails, 50 Green-winged Teal, 6 Canvasbacks, 2 Redheads, 60 Ring-necked Ducks, 20 Lesser
Scaup, 8 Hooded Mergansers and 2 Common Mergansers. Also 4 American
Coots and 2 Ring-billed Gulls there.

Larry noted  "The breadth of this spring migration so early in Winneshiek Co. is

Past experience indicates the stage is being set for some devastating late spring frosts. I remember years where the Snow Trillium wildflowers at Oakland Mills were covered with snow on Easter Sunday. I also remember planting sweet corn April first one year and it made it through without getting frozen off. The most stable springs are the late ones but the honeybees are certainly appreciating the early maple bloom and the waterfowl are pressing as far north as open water allows and birders are having a blast.




3/10 Hot news,

Joy just called on her cell phone to say there are 3 Green-winged Teal (2 males) and 5 Shovelers (4 males) on the Wal-Mart storm water wetland along with a couple of Mallards.

Chorus frogs are singing on the hilltop wetlands, well at least one is, and so too one Spring Peeper (just a couple of peeps)

The silver maple trees are blooming and the honey bees are packing pollen.

Ducks are moving on. We did not see the swan this morning.

Reports from the Decorah area note that marshes are opening up in northern Iowa counties now and the ducks and geese are pouring in.

"Cardinal Marsh is opening up, and 10 waterfowl species were seen there
this evening, March 9:
50 Greater White-fronted Geese, 400 Canada Geese, 10 Wood Ducks, 10
Gadwall, 40 American Widgeon, 3000 mallards, 300 northern pintail, 40
Green-winged Teal, 2 Redheads, and 20 Ring-necked Ducks. Also saw 2
American Coots, 1 American Woodcock and 1 Pileated Woodpecker.
Pintails have been scarce here in recent years, and tonight's numbers
are encouraging. "

Winneshiek Co Naturalist, Larry Reis 


March Migration 3/9/12

It was a bit below freezing early this morning. Brent's borrow pit was making up for lost time again this morning. There were more Redheads there than I have ever seen in Henry County at one place at one time. They formed a raft of several hundred birds. 1 Bald Eagle was there surveying the scene when we arrived. There were also 50+ scaup and 3 Hooded Mergansers.

The Winfield Ave borrow pit had 1 Trumpeter Swan, 20 Canada Geese, 24 Redheads, 150+ Scaup, 8 Shovelers, 2 Ring-necked Ducks and later in the day 25 Canvasbacks. Joy Lake looked empty but upon closer examination we spotted, 4 Ruddy Ducks, 3 Shovelers and 4 Buffleheads. We observed a great blue heron standing in Big Creek as we crossed the bridge.

Old Rome Sand Pit continues to have a nice bunch of Canada Geese and this morning 3 female Common Mergansers and 10 Redheads stopped in as well.

We stopped by to check out the Merimack Wetland on our way to Brighton only to find our favorite one  has been drained while the rest are dry due to the dry weather.

On to Brighton we found the wetlands across the river and then down stream to be very low but we did observe some Canada Geese and 9 Gadwals on the remaining pot holes.

Back home, the migrants continue to be active and most of the birds on the borrow pits had moved on by evening, but the lone Trumpeter Swan and a nice bunch of ducks and geese were still to be seen on the Winfield Ave. borrow pit at sundown.

There is so much to see and so much to do in Henry County! How quickly spring, like childhood youth and old age come to pass. If a fella isn't careful life is over before we have lived it.

Still no Blue-winged Teal and only one Green Wing. The weather next week should remedy that. But hey, everything is running well ahead of schedule. Everyone is early. I remember winter still owns these dates in cooler years. 

Bob Stearns reported seeing the following at Amana's Lily Lake yesterday, northwest of Iowa City.  Note the Blue-winged Teal and the Swans!

Trumpeter Swans=30
Gadwall= lots
A.Wigeon= lots
Canvasback lots
Ring-necked Duck =few
L.Scaup many
Ruddy Duck= raft>20
GR.White fronted goose=1000's{!}


3/8/12 - Late Afternoon

 The first borrow pit on the 34 by-pass (Brent's) has been quite for some time - but not today.  Before we came to a stop Joy exclaimed, "Look, a swan in the air." The bird had apparently taken wing from the south end and was heading north. We both wondered if it would settle on the next stop. As the swan disappeared we began the duck count.

100+ Ring-necks, 14 Redheads, 4 Bufflehead males -2 females, 10 Lesser Scaup.

Next stop, Winfield Ave Borrow Pit - Sure enough, 1 Trumpeter Swan, 150+ Lesser Scaup, 8 Shovelers, 6 Canada Geese.

We watched the swan standing on one leg and preening its feathers for several minutes. We hoped to see it walk as we wondered if it was Screamer. Screamer is a swan we released years ago who has a distinctive gate, the result of an old injury. A loner, she hung around for several years but we have not seen her recently.

Joy Lake - 4 Ruddy Ducks, 4 Coots, 1 Pie-billed Grebe, 6 Gadwals, 8 Mallards, 5 Lesser Scaup

Walmart Wetland - One drake Shoveler and 1 killdeer.

Old Rome Sand Pit- A nice bunch of Canada Geese.

I had hoped to see some more teal today but....


3/7/12 Cloudy, windy, 9:00 am, 61Fand  1:00 pm 67FNoon hour updates are underlined. Many birds are quickly moving on.

3/7/12 9:00 am Walmart Stormwater Wetland

3 Shovelers, 5 Mallards, 6 Canada Geese 

Winfield Ave/34 by-pass borrow pit

1 Trumpeter Swan, 100+ Scaup, 15 Canvasbacks, 5 Shovelers, 1 Bufflehead,

Joy Lake

 8 Coots (firsts), 1 Green-winged Teal (first), 6 Buffleheads, 1 Pie-billed Grebe (first), 2 Mallards, 6 Ring-necks, 15 Canada Geese, 5 Shovelers, 4 Ruddy Ducks, 1 Canvasback (male) Add 14 Redheads and 3 (2 additional) Pie-billed Grebes at the noon hour.

Old Rome Sand Pit

12 Shovelers, 2 Gadwalls, 20 + Canada Geese, 2 Mallards, Flock of fly-by sea gulls too high for a land lubber to identify.

Oakland Mills/Skunk River from Dam to Faulkners Access

3 Common Mergansers, ( the males are too beautiful to be called common). Joy says the females are just as beautiful but just not as striking. Add three Hooded Mergansers and 2 more Common Mergansers for 5 and 1 Pie-billed Grebe.

Too windy for steady viewing through the scope today but wow, what a day!  There is a nice bunch of Woodies on the home pond every day now. Joy said she counted 40 the day before yesterday.



3/6/12 11 am Five Trumpeter Swans along with a small raft of divers continue to enjoy the Winfield Ave/34 by-pass borrow pit. The wind, waves and reflection off the water made the identification of the divers difficult.

One Goldeneye and 1 pair of Buffleheads on Joy Lake. The sun and the wind to my back made identification possible even as the wind rocked the truck. The White Fronts along with the host of visitors I saw yesterday are all gone.

I watched a flock of geese fly over no doubt taking advantage of the wind. Many migrants will be well to the north before this day is over.

Mallards and Canada Geese on the old Rome sand pit.

3:00pm. After feeding the swans on the hill top wetland I paused to listen to a Bluebird pair discussing the nest boxes Joy has put up for them on the fence posts. I have been seeing males but this was the first pair I have noticed. Then coming home I thought I heard a chorus frog. No way! It had to be a spring fever hallucination. 70F will do that to a fella on 3/6. 

9:50 pm Reports from northern Iowa speak of the arrival of mallards, white fronts, Canadas and killdeer. They are also seeing Green-winged Teal and Northern Shovelers. So far I have not seen teal, shovelers, and coots. Maybe tomorrow? This is stacking up as an early spring with a low river and many dry or nearly dry wetlands. The Jarvis DOT mitigation wetland and the Ross Wetland above Oakland being two examples. They may be good places to look for shore birds a bit latter on. 

 3/5/12 -  Clear - 17F am - with 4 inches of snow on the ground

Five Swans again/still on Winfield Avenue/34 Bypass borrow pit along with 65 Canada Geese and a nice bunch of divers. One swan stayed off by itself sleeping on the ice the whole time I was there (a bit worrisome).I did not see the Goldeneyes but I did see two male Buffleheads (first of the season for me). These little guys are my favorite divers.;_ylt=A0oGk1NR1lRPA0YA2hthxrF_?p=bufflehead+duck&fr=ush1-finance&

Joy Lake was awesome this morning with hundreds of White-fronted Geese, 75 Cackling Geese, and about a dozen Pintails along with a good mix of divers to include some beautiful male Canvasbacks. The bank was lined with mallards on the west and north for hundreds of feet.

Woodies came in again at the home pond, sliding to a stop on the ice.

With snow on the ground the doves have joined the regulars at the feeders.

Over the noon hour. Add Gadwalls (3) and Baldpates (5) at Joy Lake along with maybe twenty Pintails.  The five swans on the Winfield Ave./34 by-pass were all looking good. A striking Marsh Hawk there gave us close up viewing as he rode the wind off the water. The Buffleheads appeared to move to Joy Lake. (same birds?)

Several hundred White-fronts observed east of Swedesburg. Warming up nicely and roads getting messy.


3/4/12- 19 F - clear am changing to snow pm then colder  Five Trumpeter Swans stopped for a visit on the Winfield Avenue/34 Bypass borrow pit this morning along with 50 Lesser Scaup and a pair of Common Goldeneyes. 

The Killdeers are here and 18 Wood Ducks came in on the home pond early this morning.

A flock of Greater White-fronted Geese was feeding in the corn stubble west of Joy Lake.

There were 4 Redheads, 8 Canvasbacks, 1 Hooded Merganser, and a bunch of Mallards on the lake.
The Goldfinches and the Cardinals are flocking the feeders since the snow started joined by a flock of Red-winged Black Birds. 

3/1/12 - Cloudy 32F Morning drive by:  Five Trumpeter Swans on 34 Bypass / Winfield Ave borrow pit.

Joy Lake: Hundreds of White-fronted Geese, hundreds of Mallards, maybe fifty Canada's, a beautiful male Pintail, a female Common Goldeneye, 4 Ruddy Ducks, small bunch of Redheads,  Hooded Merganser- a striking male.

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