This year I decided I need to get back into bird watching. I've been doing the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count for about the past 15 years, and the most recent one was pretty great, with some ducks that I haven't seen in awhile, as well as some unusual "land birds" for our count area. Anyway, it inspired me to start paying attention, and to finally replace the spotting scope that disappeared from my truck about 5 years ago.
So now I've got a new scope and tripod, and I intend to put them to good use this year. Sandy and I have already been out a few times, but the circumstances have not been favorable for using the scope. I've started a year list, and I'm looking forward to doing some trips around the state and beyond. I don't really know what to expect for a total species tally, but I'm thinking 250 should be realistic, maybe close to 300 if I do some travel out of New England.
I need to update my camera as well, because I think I'll try to take some photos through the scope, but that may have to wait for the bank account to get a little fatter.
Anyway, I had a nice afternoon of birding near the lake (Champlain, that is). I was near Button Bay and spotted a bald eagle sitting in a tree on an island, and below him on the lake were several hundred Canada geese, with lots of diving ducks mixed in among them. I decided to get a better (closer) vantage point, which meant getting back in the truck, parking a few hundred yards up the road and walking about a half mile down to the lake. By the time I reached the position, the eagle had apparently taken wing and scattered all the geese and was perched on the ice near a duck that been partially eaten. Don't know if it was his kill or not.
While I was scoping the rest of the ducks, the eagle took off and headed north, and I think he re-scattered the geese, 'cause they all started heading back a few minutes later.
I like the "sun dog" in this image. The ice was extending well off the shore, and we have another week of single digit nights ahead. These are Canada geese flying over, but I noticed an odd couple pull out of one group and fly off in a slightly different direction, it was a snow goose paired with a Canada.