Monday, March 10, 2014

More on diving ducks and an interlude with a pheasant

Of course I had to bird today--the temperature hit 50+ degrees. I hoped to spot my first of year Red-winged Blackbird. That didn't happen, though. Birding today was pretty slow--but once again, I was confronted with avian mortality.

My first stop was the Port Washington Harbor. It was quiet compared to last Monday when I visited (and yesterday, when people saw a Red-throated Loon and Long-tailed Duck). I first noticed this Greater Scaup, looking relieved to bask in the sun:

The next thing that I noticed were the numerous recently dead ducks--they floated belly up around the periphery of the ice. I shuddered. Sometimes I feel guilty birding when I know that birds have it so tough. My stomach really sunk, though, when I came across the following scene:
Alive Greater Scaup resting near a deceased Greated Scaup

Even though I felt sad, I didn't stop birding. I'm glad. I was able to watch many of the common divers and capture images of them all afternoon. They will be migrating north soon, so I want to get my fill.

Along with ducks, I again spotted a Red-throated Loon in the Milwaukee Harbor and I found a Ring-necked Pheasant in the middle of the road near 6 Mile and County A in Port/Belgium (not sure which). This guy barely flinched when a motorcyclist approached, then slowed, coming from the opposite direction. After the pheasant crossed the road, he pecked around in the dirt for awhile, occasionally finding something to munch on.

The pheasant was quite cooperative. I wish his mate would have showed herself, though, as I haven't seen a female pheasant yet.

The other interesting sight today was that of the female Red-breasted Merganser pictured below. As you can see, she was resting on the edge of an ice slab where it met open water (near the Milwaukee lighthouse). After a few moments of watching her, the lil lady began waddling on the ice--AWAY from the open water. No!!!! I yelled inwardly. GO THE OTHER WAY!!!! She kept padding along, then suddenly, she took off flying--from the ice slab! Again, though, she flew further into the ice, not away from it. I was befuddled. I thought that divers could not take off from the ice. However, on the ice sat a VERY shallow pool of water--maybe that is how she was able to anchor herself. In any case, I'm pulling for her. Hopefully, she returned to open water when she wanted to.

1 comment:

  1. never saw a ring-necked pheasant, colorful. nice pics.