Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Gullgiddy Gullgiddy

I love Daylight Savings Time. Now that I am adjusted to the wake up again I just can't get enough of the light evenings. I made a return to Stearn's Lake last evening, and despite the cold temps and biting wind it was great to be back.
It is so different now that spring is getting close. The lake was almost completely free of geese, but I only stayed until just after sunset. They have either moved farther north, or are just enjoying the longer days as well. Based on the inches of snow we received and the sudden drop in temps any geese that began heading further north may be rethinking that one a bit.

I had the place to myself except for a single jogger, who was a long way from somewhere - I had the only car in the parking area. It gave me a great chance to duck behind the concrete of the spillway and get a break from the wind. I enjoyed the handful of Ring-billed Gulls that were hunting over that part of the lake.

Gulls make a great target for photography practice. They hang on the wind and follow repetitive patterns while they canvas the water for prey.

The gull above took his catch out to deeper water to eat. He had come in just in front of me, and plucked his catch just beyond me from the edge of some cattails on the shore. It looks like some kind of freshwater crab, but he was too far out to be certain.

I seem to only see Ring-billeds. Members of the COBirds listserve report all kinds of rarities, and I have managed to ID a few Herring Gulls along the way. For me, for now, the Ring-billeds are plenty entertaining to watch at work over the waves.
Besides gulls there were lots of other things to entertain me. I saw the most Black-billed Magpies together that I have ever noted. There were at least 27 of them working through some cottonwoods at the edge of an old orchard. I also tried to relocate the Great Horned Owl I have seen in the past but never photographed, but no luck last night. Once the wind dropped off it was really just beautiful, and I took in the sounds of Magpies, Red-winged Blackbirds and European Starlings as the light began to fade. Say what you want about Starlings, they make an incredible cacophony of non-birdlike sounds.
I had one last treat as I approached the car, three Killdeer were moving about in the muddy area at the near edge of the lake. They were the first I had seen since New Year's Day.

Enjoy those extended evenings!

1 comment: