Birding in Calhoun County and beyond
One of the more frustrated birds to show up in this county. After hitting up Duck Lake late on the 22nd still trying for some oddball waterfowl (Canvasback) or non-normal Gulls (Lesser-black Backed seem to be showing up), I received a call from Doug McWhirter that he had a Red-throated Loon the morning of the 23rd. Ah!! Why does work get in the way...oh yeah because it creates the means for the way. Luckily I was able to hit up Duck Lake the following morning, on a less than stellar morning. Heavy fog, mixed with some rain just made viewing terrible out there.
Back to the Loon, I visited Duck Lake 4 times the week of 11/22. Every time what I saw was a lone Common Loon out on the lake. I admit the first time I saw it, I gave it a lot of looks as it was by far the palest winter plumage Loon I have seen.
This horrible picture is the loon I was able to find in the fog on the morning of the 24th. It looked a lot like the Common Loon I caught on the 22nd.
One nice part of that foggy morning was catching what I consider a fairly interesting picture of the waterfowl in the fog.
My next chance to get out there was not until Thanksgiving morning. Again not great conditions to view birds. I called it a loon sp. this morning. Not even worthy of taking any photos in the conditions it was in (as in I have deleted the pics I did take). It was fairly close looks, and I lean towards calling it another/same Common Loon. Every bird this weak looked to have too significant of a bill for me to call it anything else. Unless I wanted to go for Arctic Loon maybe:-)
Last shot came on Friday, with yet more reports of the Loon out on the lake. Again this dang bill just too darn big for me to see it as anything else. It does look like this is potentially a different bird from the bird on 11/22. Looks a little more defined on the border from black to white on the neck. This is, I think, supported by Marc North observing 3 Common Loons on the following morning.
All in all a pretty frustrating week. I really hoped I could tick this one of the list of Code 5 birds for the county. It would have been one more, not expected, in the long shot to get to 200. I have no doubt I'll catch one at some point.
I'll rest with being able to pick up the Canvasbacks on Duck Lake to get to 191 for the year. 9 more birds in 31 days is going to be an awful stretch. I've not pursued the incredibly cooperative Harlequin Duck in Jackson. I may have to jump on that one this coming weekend, if nothing interesting shows up around here.
Some bonus was a White-throated Sparrow showing up under my feeder the past week. Latest reports in Calhoun County on eBird. These 3 cycles of Ring-billed Gulls allowed me to stay close for some decent shots.
My exploits in my latest passion, Birding...not Bird-watching;-)