Leucistic Ruddy Duck at Jonas Green Park

The weatherman called for rain and sleet this morning, but the Sun was still shining at 8:00, so I went to Jonas Green Park.

The ice was still thick on the ground, so I stayed mostly on the bridge, which was clear of ice. In truth, there wasn’t much to see but Ruddys and a few Canvasbacks and a Warbler who posed briefly. The leucistic Ruddy was a nice break in the monotony.

Jonas Green 13

The view from Jonas Green Park, looking NW on the Severn River.

Song Sparrow 126

This Song Sparrow was foraging on the ground.

Bufflehead 187

Buffleheads were also in the mix.

Lesser Scaup 192

There were a few Lesser Scaup on the river.

Yellow Rumped Warbler 201

Yellow Rumped Warbler 200

It’s been a while since I’ve seen a Yellow Rumped Warbler.

Ruddy Duck 98 Ruddy Duck 97

Ruddy Duck 99

Leucism /ˈljsɪzəm/[1] is a condition in which there is partial loss of pigmentation in an animal resulting in white, pale, or patchy coloration of the skin, hair, feathers, scales or cuticle, but not the eyes.[2]Unlike albinism, it is caused by a reduction in multiple types of pigment, not just melanin.

 

 

Lesser Scaup at Jonas Green Park

I was limited by the ice today. Just walking was a chore, but it was also melting quickly.

Thomas Point was closed due to icing, so I stopped at Possum Point and Jonas Green Park.  There wasn’t much variety at either spot, but I did find an unfortunate Scaup with a hook in his bill

Lesser Scaup 191

This Lesser Scaup was at Possum Point.

Canvasback 127

Canvasback 127

These Canvasbacks were in a large flock at Possum Point.

 

Common Goldeneye at Thomas Point

Yet another cold, gray morning with threatening skies. I took a quick run by Sandy Point, but nothing had changed-ice as far as I could see, and more photographers than birds.

Jonas Green was better, but there was more ice than yesterday, and fewer birds.  Nothing unusual to see.

By the time I got to Thomas Point, the snow had started, but the birds were more numerous and active and I got a few decent shots.

Sandy Point 10

Ice from shore to shore at Sandy Point.

 

Rock Dove 100

This Rock Dove was feeding at Jonas Green Park.

Lesser Scaup 189

A large flock of Scaup was resting at Thomas Point.

White Throated Sparrow 201

White Throated Sparrows were searching through the grass for seeds.

Tundra Swan 102

Tundra Swans usually stay in the cove, but the ice has forced them out to the bay.

Bufflehead 186

Buffleheads are still numerous in most places.

Canvasback 125

Canvasback 124

These Canvasbacks were in a large flock at Jonas Green

Common Goldeneye 151

I spotted this Common Goldeneye just as I was leaving the park.

Tufted Titmouse at Thomas Point

Ice, ice, ice!  I got to Sandy Point around 7:30 and saw ice as far as I could see. There was no open water in the half mile of beach I walked, a big change from the last few days. A few ducks flew overhead, probably looking for open water without success.

Jonas Green was better, with hundreds of ducks in the open water in the middle of the river.

Thomas Point was frozen to the east and west, and most of the ducks were well off shore, with a few flying around the pint occasionally. Tundra Swans and Bald Eagles made the trip worthwhile.

Bay Bridge 107

Jonas Green 10

Looking SE from Jonas Green Park. USNA in the background.

Bay Bridge 108

I was a little late for the best sunrise colors.

 

Thomas Point 4

Looking East from Thomas Point.

Tundra Swan 101

Tundra Swan 100

These Tundra Swans were swimming near the shore at Thomas Point. The water was thick with ice.

White Throated Sparrow 200

I nearly walked on this White Throated Sparrow who was so intent on feeding he ignored me.

Bald Eagle 388

Bald Eagle 389

Bald Eagles are very active now.

Canvasback 122

Canvasback 123

Redhead on the left, Canvasback on the right. These ducks are often confused at a distance.

Ruddy Duck 96

 

Ruddy Duck 95

This Ruddy Duck was frozen in the ice. A friend checked later and said he was gone.

Tufted Titmouse 200

I’ve never featured a Tufted Titmouse before. This one looked particularly glad to be feeding.

Common Goldeneye at Thomas Point

Cold and cloudy this morning. All the action around here at this time of year is in the water, so I went back to Sandy Point, Jonas Green and Thomas Point.

There’s a lot more ice in all these places, and plenty of ducks, as they can’t feed in their usual places in the iced over creeks and rivers. I’m loking for oddball ducks or gulls who’ve wandered this way due to freezing up North, but I haven’t heard any significant reports.

Common Merganser 108

There’s not a lot of Common Mergansers around, but any at all is a good deal.

 

 

Red Breasted Merganser 127

This Red Breasted Merganser was cruising a small area of open water near the shore.

Ruddy Duck 94

A sleepy Ruddy Duck.

 

Canvasback 121

There were many Canvasbacks at Thomas Point.

Lesser Scaup 188

Lesser Scaup at Thomas Point will often fly close in as they round the point.

 

Common Goldeneye 150

Common Goldeneye 149

This Common Goldeneye was feeding near the shore at Thomas Pint, and I was lucky to catch him as he took off.

Bald Eagle Courtship at Jonas Green Park

What a day! I went to Sandy Point after the snow stopped, and there were hundreds of ducks, many flying close to shore. Many of the ducks on the water were asleep, heads tucked under their wings.

I noticed some ducks at Jonas Green as I passed, so I stopped to take a look, as this park has been iced in for several days. There were lots of ducks in the open water, and a pair of Bald Eagles put on a courtship display for me.

Black Backed Seagull 25

Black Backed Seagulls are common at Sandy Point.

Red Breasted Merganser 124

 

Red Breasted Merganser 120

Red Breasted Merganser 123

Red Breasted Merganser 121

Red Breasted Merganser 122

These Red Breasted Mergansers were feeding near shore.

 

 

 

Canvasback 117

Canvasback 115

Canvasback 114

Canvasback 116

Canvasbacks are usually seen in the creeks, but the ice has brought them out to the bay.

Lesser Scaup 187

Lesser Scaup 185

Lesser Scaup 186

You don’t often see a Lesser Scaup sitting on the ice.

Mallard 118

Only a few Mallards were around.

Bald Eagle 387

Bald Eagle 386

“Once attracted to a potential partner, the bald eagle may begin one of several elaborate courtship rituals called “cartwheeling.” In this magnificient display, the eagles soar to dizzying heights, lock talons, and begin a breathtakingly death-defying plunge to the earth. Just moments before striking the ground, the eagles disengage and once again soar to the heavens. If the timing is not perfect, certain death awaits this pair of speeding bullets. Eagles that are in combat with each other also may interlock their talons and fall in cartwheel fashion toward the ground. ” eagles.org

 

 

 

Redhead at Thomas Point

A clear and sunny morning for a change. It was cold, but calm, and Sandy Point has been good to me lately, so I started there and moved to Thomas Point after a couple of hours.

There’s still plenty of action at Sandy Point, with the ice clearing up and  the creeks and rivers still iced up.

Thomas Point was clear to the East and North, and there must have been 500-600 ducks, including the first Redheads I’ve seen there.

Sandy Point 7

Sunrise at Sandy Point.

Bay Bridge 106

Chesapeake Bay Bridge at sunrise.

Bufflehead 176

It seemed odd to see a Scaup and a Bufflehead so close together.

Canvasback 112

Canvasback 113

Large flocks of Canvasbacks were at both points.

Bufflehead 182 Bufflehead 181 Bufflehead 180 Bufflehead 179 Bufflehead 178

Bufflehead 177

Buffleheads are plentiful as well.

Ruddy Duck 93 Ruddy Duck 92

Ruddy Duck 91

You can often get quite close to Ruddy Ducks.

Hooded Merganser 131

He’s a bit distant, but I haven’t seen many Hooded Mergansers this season.

Black Duck 100

Black Ducks have also been scarce this year.

Robin 64

Robins used to be a sign of Spring but they’re year round residents now.

Sanderling 14

Sanderling 13

Sanderlings are perfectly camouflaged against the sand and snow.

Common Merganser 104

Common Mergansers are still hanging out in the bay.

Red Breasted Merganser 119

Red Breasted Merganser 118

This Red Breasted Merganser was foraging at Sandy Point.

Canada Goose 100

Many Canada Geese winter at Sandy Point.

Black Backed Seagull 24

This Black Backed Seagull was soaring over the beach.

 

 

Great Blue Heron 262

This Great Blue Heron is from Saturday.

Bald Eagle 383

This Bald Eagle was scoping out the ducks at Thomas Point.

Bald Eagle 384

Redhead 18

Redhead 18

Redheads seem to be plentiful this year.

 

 

 

Red Breasted Merganser at Sandy Point

Our local parks are closed on Tuesdays, so I took another stab at Sandy Point this morning.

I arrived about noon, and noticed that the ice had blown onshore in the last two days. The ducks weren’t as numerous, but the merganser was a nice find.

Sandy Point 6

This image of the Lighthouse gives an idea of how much ice there is.

Ruddy Duck 89

Ruddy Duck 90

Several Ruddy Ducks were feeding close to shore.

Bufflehead 176 Lesser Scaup 182 Lesser Scaup 181

Lesser Scaup 183

There were large flocks of Lesser Scaup out in the bay.

Red Breasted Merganser 117

This Red Breasted Merganser was feeding with a flock of Lesser Scaup.

Great Blue Heron at Sandy Point

It was cold but clear  without much wind this morning, so I went back to Sandy Point.   The ice has increased, and  the ducks were there in larger numbers.

A few eagles were looking for a meal, and I saw  my first heron in a week.

Herring Gull 12

This Herring Gull has found a fish abandoned by another bird, probably an eagle.

Lesser Scaup 180 Lesser Scaup 179

Lesser Scaup 178

Lesser Scaup are still the dominant duck.

 

Canvasback 108

Canvasback 107

Canvasbacks are present in large flocks.

Great Blue Heron 258

Great Blue Heron 257

When I first spotted this Great Blue Heron, he was being pursued by several gulls trying to steal his breakfast.

 

 

Red Breasted Merganser at Sandy Point

It was a little warmer this morning, but somewhat cloudy.  Snow was predicted for later, but it seemed worth a trip to Sandy Point to see the duck bonanza.

I was surprised to see much of the ice gone, but a friend suggested the overnight winds had blown it South. It certainly hadn’t melted.

There weren’t nearly as many birds, but they still numbered in the multiple hundreds and provided some good looks, albeit in poor light.

Sandy Point 5

Sandy Point 4

Chesapeake Bay Bridge, looking South from Sandy Point.

Common Goldeneye 146Common Goldeneye 143

Common Goldeneye 144

Cornell: The black-and-white Common Goldeneye is one of the last ducks to migrate south in fall. It often will winter as far north as open water permits.

Ruddy Duck 85 Ruddy Duck 84

Ruddy Duck 83

Cornell:Ruddy Ducks are compact, thick-necked waterfowl with seemingly oversized tails that they habitually hold upright. Breeding males are almost cartoonishly bold, with a sky-blue bill, shining white cheek patch, and gleaming chestnut body. They court females by beating their bill against their neck hard enough to create a swirl of bubbles in the water. This widespread duck breeds mostly in the prairie pothole region of North America and winters in wetlands throughout the U.S. and Mexico.

Lesser Scaup 177

Lesser Scaup 176

Lesser Scaup seemed to be the most numerous.

 

Canvasback 104 Canvasback 103

Canvasback 105

Cornell:A large diving duck, the Canvasback breeds in prairie potholes and winters on ocean bays. Its sloping profile distinguishes it from other ducks.

Bald Eagle 382

A friend saw 9 Bald Eagles circling the ducks.

 

Red Breasted Merganser 117

Red Breasted Merganser 116

It’s been a weird year for ducks. I’d have expected to see many Red Breasted Mergansers by now, but I’ve only seen a few. Correction:This is a Common Merganser, a bird we don’t usually see in the bay. The local creeks and rivers are frozen which probably accounts for its presence.