We found the first ducks of the day before we even arrived at Lickinghole Creek, the first planned stop. Charlotte had spotted a duck as we drove, so we got out and sure enough, we saw two ring necked ducks on a little pond. As we got back in the car, we were surprias a wood duck flew over.
When we got to Lickinghole Creek, we walked down the path that leads to the pond. Snow covered the trees and blanketed the ground. A grey mist rose off the pond. Several green winged teal and mallards foraged by the mud flat. There wasn’t much else, but as we walked back to the car, we saw three more wood ducks fly over.
Our next two stops were Old Trail Golf Course and King Family Vineyards. At Old Trail, we saw several lesser scaup and ringed necked ducks, as well as a bufflehead. We were excited to see the scaup because they are uncommon in the area. At King Family Vineyards we found two hooded mergansers.
Our hunt for the Longspurs in the Valley was unfortunately unsuccessful because the snow melted before we made it out there. However, the last spot of the day, McCune’s Pond, was fantastic. A huge flock of blackbirds
including red winged blackbirds, brown headed cowbirds and common grackles, foraged in the field as we pulled up. There were at least 500 birds. As we walked down to the pond through the hayfield, we flushed two horned larks. They sat briefly on stalks, allowing us to get good views and photos. On top of the hill, we looked out at the pond below and saw a flock of about 300 geese and a bunch of ducks scattered around the pond. We quickly spotted the five greater white fronted and five cackling geese that had been reported at McCune’s Pond the day before. These geese were lifers for several in the party. We scanned the ducks and found lesser and greater scaup, gadwall, green winged teal, mallard, black duck, canvasback, ruddy duck, ring necked duck and a common merganser. Over all, we had a great day and lots of fun.
By Theo Staengl