Black Scoters at Thomas Point

I checked out Possum Point for the sunrise, which was a bust this morning. I went to Quiet Waters next, and it was seriously slow.

Thomas Point was the hot spot this morning, and found some Black Scoters, which I hadn’t seen yet this year. They were distant, but close enough for an ID shot.

Wood Duck 2018-61 Wood Duck 2018-63

Wood Duck 2018-62

I don’t often see Wood Ducks at Thomas Point.

Long Tailed Duck 2018-18 Long Tailed Duck 2018-20

Long Tailed Duck 2018-19

There seems to be more Long Tailed Ducks than usual.

Bufflehead 2018-77

Bufflehead 2018-76

Buffleheads are plentiful.

Ruddy Duck 2018-22

Ruddy Ducks were present in large rafts.

Lesser Scaup 2018-37 Lesser Scaup 2018-36

Lesser Scaup 2018-38

Lesser Scaup were the largest group.

These are Surf Scoters.

Black Scoter 2018-1

I haven’t seen Black Scoters for a couple of years.

Canvasback at Thomas Point.

The early skies were very cloudy, so I delayed my departure until 7:00. I began at Possum Point, which was disappointing, with only a few ducks and geese.

Thomas Point was more promising. Hundreds of ducks were in view, but most were a bit too far for good images. I met a couple of fellow birders, though, and we chatted a while.

I stopped at my friend’s house again and got some good close up shots.

Lesser Scaup 2018-34

Lesser Scaup 2018-35

The Lesser Scaup was at Possum Point.

Canvasback 2018-29 Canvasback 2018-28

Canvasback 2018-30

I think this is the first time I’ve caught a Canvasback with its beak open.

Ruddy Duck 2018-20 Ruddy Duck 2018-19


Ruddy Duck 2018-21

Ruddy Ducks are numerous everywhere I go.

Long Tailed Duck 2018-17

Several Long Tailed Ducks were at the point.

Bufflehead 2018-75

There weren’t as many Buffleheads as usual.



Redhead at Thomas Point.

I made the usual stop at Sandy Point to check the sky, and left almost immediately when I saw all gray from horizon to sky. Possum Point is about 10 minutes away, and I’ve gotten some good sunrises there recently, so I made the trip.

I ran into the base cops once again, and they were not impressed with my permission slip from the base commander’s office, so we went ’round and ’round for a few minutes before they let me go with a promise to arrest me next time. I called the base commander’s office again, and the deputy assured me that won’t happen again.  More as the situation develops. I like Possum Point, and it’s great for ducks and sunrises in the Winter, so it’s worth the hassle (Which hasn’t happened in the last 6 years). 

I didn’t have any luck there, so I went to Thomas Point, which actually had a lot of ducks, but it was windy and cold, and the birds were too far out for good images. 

I’m lucky to have a friend who lives nearby, and I got some good shots from her dock to save the morning.

I found only a few Surf Scoters.

This Bufflehead was out at the point.
Canvasbacks will be numerous all Winter.

Many Tundra Swans hang around in hopes of getting fed.
American Wigeons show up occasionally, but I only found one this morning.

A rare pairing of a Mallard and a Canvasback.

The simple color scheme of the Redhead is very attractive.

River Otter at Schoolhouse Pond.

I checked out the sunrise at Sandy Point and Possum Point this morning, and it was another gray dawn. I pondered for a few minutes, then decided to give Schoolhouse Pond a try. It’s often productive at this time of year.

Visibility was pretty poor, but I could see hundreds of Canada Geese, many Mallards and seagulls. but not much else. As the sun rose I was able to see a few Hooded Mergansers.

I walked around a while, and was thinking about leaving when I saw a disturbance in the water which turned out to be a River Otter. 

I followed him around the pond for 45 minutes or so and managed to get a few close ups in the poor light, which made the trip worthwhile.

Canada Geese often spend the night on the water and head out early to feed the next day.
A few Hooded Mergansers were visible in the distance.

I see a lot of Ring Billed Gulls, but I don’t see them fishing very often.

A bit too distant, but my Otter friend scored a nice catfish early on.
I seldom get this close to a River Otter.
I don’t often get this close to a River Otter.

Lesser Scaup at Thomas Point.

The weather is being very kind lately, so all I need is more variety from the birds. I’ve  seen several interesting species, but only briefly and in small numbers. My guess is that things will pick up as December progresses.

Sunrise has gotten far more interesting lately. I’m trying to learn more about low light photography, because the early morning reflections provide some interesting colors, but it’s tricky to get a fast enough shutter speed to capture a moving bird.

Possum Point 144

Possum Point 143

Sunrise at Possum Point.

Tundra Swan 2018-43

The Tundra Swan on the left appears to be very young.

Bufflehead 2018-66

Bufflehead 2018-71 Bufflehead 2018-70

Lesser Scaup 2018-32

The water is reflecting the sunrise colors.

Bufflehead 2018-69 Bufflehead 2018-68 Bufflehead 2018-67

Bufflehead 2018-72

Buffleheads are numerous everywhere I go.

Bald Eagle 2018-85

Bald Eagle 2018-86

This Bald Eagle was hunting at Thomas Point this morning.


Ruddy Duck 2018-16

Ruddy Duck 2018-17

Ruddy Ducks are the most numerous of all.

Lesser Scaup 2018-32

The water is reflecting the sunrise colors.

Long Tailed Duck 2018-14 Long Tailed Duck 2018-13 Long Tailed Duck 2018-16

Long Tailed Duck 2018-15

Some years Long Tailed Ducks are hard to find.

Lesser Scaup 2018-33

Lesser Scaup are very numerous at Thomas Point.

Bufflehead at Possum Point.

I may skip Sandy Point for a while. The Sun is coming up South of the bridge, and the view is getting better from Possum Point. A really good sky would make Sandy Point worthwhile.

I’ve managed to get permission to be at Possum Point an hour before sunrise, so my thanks to the Naval Support Activity admin who granted permission quickly.

Possum Point was slow, but there were good colors and a few birds.

Thomas Point had hundreds of birds, but most were still too far out for good images, My friend’s house on Thomas Point Road was very active, and I should have had my video camera with me.

Possum Point 142

Dawn at Possum Point.

Canvasback 2018-24

I see Canvasbacks at Thomas Point every year.

Bufflehead 2018-63

As the Sun rose, the colors in the water changed quickly.

Bufflehead 2018-64

Bufflehead 2018-65

Buffleheads tend to be very active and fun to watch.

Lesser Scaup 2018-31

There were many Scaup, but most were quite far out.

Mallard 2018-53

Many Mallards were milling about.

Tundra Swan 2018-41 Tundra Swan 2018-40 Tundra Swan 2018-39 Tundra Swan 2018-38

Tundra Swan 2018-42

These Tundra Swans were looking for a handout.

Long Tailed Duck 2018-11

Long Tailed Duck 2018-12

Several Long Tailed Duck hens were feeding at the point.

Surf Scoter 2018-2

Surf Scoter 2018-1

I found only a few Surf Scoters.

Snow Goose at Bombay Hook NWR.

I heard good things about Bombay Hook, so I got up early and made the trip.

In truth, it wasn’t worth it. I did get to see thousands of Snow Geese, but there wasn’t much variety otherwise. The pools were largely empty, and many of the birds were too far for good images.

Better luck next time.

Bombay Hook 20

Sunrise at Bombay Hook.

American Avocet 2018-28

American Avocet 2018-27

These American Avocets are in Winter plumage,


Song Sparrow 2018-26

Many Song Sparrows forage in the brush along the main road.

Greater Yellowlegs 2018-25

I found only a single Greater Yellowlegs.

Northern Pintail 2018-25

A few Northern Pintails were feeding in the mash.

Canvasback 2018-23

These are the first Canvasbacks I’ve seen at Bombay Hook.

Black Duck 2018-11

Black Duck 2018-12

Bombay Hook seems to be home for many Black Ducks.

White Throated Sparrow 2018-9

This is a White Throated Sparrow.


Great Blue Heron 2018-93

I found only two Great Blue Herons this morning.

Snow Goose 2018-28 Snow Goose 2018-27 Snow Goose 2018-26

Snow Goose 2018-29

Many thousands of Snow Geese seem to be wintering at Bombay Hook.

Eastern Bluebird at Thomas Point.

I started at Sandy Point again, and found a nearly gray sky from horizon to overhead. I stopped at Possum Point, and ran into two military police who seem to think Possum Point is closed until sunrise, and that sunrise is always 8:00 AM (The time of morning colors). I’ll have to sort that out next week.

Quiet Waters was next, and it was basically a bust. I saw a few Buffleheads and that was all.

Thomas Point was much better: hundreds of ducks including Scaup, Goldeneyes, Ruddys, Buffleheads, Scoters, Tundra Swans and a few passerines. Many of the ducks were too far out for good images, but a few drifted in close enough for decent pictures.

Cedar Waxwing 2018-5

A flock of Cedar Waxwings were feeding in a tree at the point.

Tundra Swan 2018-36

Several Tundra Swans flew over the Point.

Lesser Scaup 2018-26

A small flock of Scaup flew in as I was leaving.

Bufflehead 2018-62

Many Bufflehead were in the area.

Long Tailed Duck 2018-9

Long Tailed Duck 2018-10

This is a female Long Tailed Duck.

Common Goldeneye 2018-7

Several Common Goldeneye hens were foraging at the point.

Yellow Rumped Warbler 2018-9

A single Yellow Rumped Warbler was feeding near the car park.

Ruddy Duck 2018-13

Ruddy Duck 2018-14

Many Ruddy Ducks were in big flocks near the point.

Eastern Bluebird 2018-15 Eastern Bluebird 2018-14

Eastern Bluebird 2018-16

Eastern Bluebirds are regulars at the point.