Cooper’s Hawk at Blackwater NWR.

I went to Eastern Neck NWR a couple of days ago and it was a major disappointment.  I’ve heard good things for years, but a 70 mile trip didn’t appeal, and I picked exactly the wrong time. I got only a couple of images, and nothing exciting.

Yesterday I stayed local and didn’t find much at all.

Today was back to Backwater, which was much more productive.  Eagle were abundant, a few hawks showed up and a few ducks as well, and the weather was perfect.

Northern Shoveler 2017-15

Northern Shovelers are still abundant.

Great Blue Heron 2017-16

On a calm day you can get some wonderful reflections like this Great Blue heron.

American White Pelican 2017-3

The American White Pelicans are still hanging out.

Horned Grebe 2017-10

This Horned Grebe was at Thomas Point.

Bufflehead 2017-44

Buffleheads also at Thomas Point.

Canvasback 2017-16

This Canvasback was at my friend’s house.

Lesser Scaup 2017-21

These Scaup were the only interesting birds I found at Eastern Neck.

 

Eastern Neck 1

A view of Eastern Neck NWR.

Bald Eagle 2017-53 Bald Eagle 2017-52 Bald Eagle 2017-51 Bald Eagle 2017-50 Bald Eagle 2017-48 Bald Eagle 2017-47 Bald Eagle 2017-46

Bald Eagle 2017-45

Bald Eagle 2017-54

Many Eagles were active today.

Hooded Merganser 2017-789 Hooded Merganser 2017-788 Hooded Merganser 2017-787 Hooded Merganser 2017-786 Hooded Merganser 2017-785 Hooded Merganser 2017-784

Hooded Merganser 2017-790

Hooded Mergansers were more cooperative than usual today.

Tundra Swan 2017-49

Tundra Swan 2017-50

Tundra Swans are still numerous.

Cooper's Hawk 2017-3

Cooper's Hawk 2017-2

I was lucky to spot this Cooper’s Hawk by the side of the road.

Bald Eagle at Blackwater NWR.

I got to Blackwater around dawn, looking forward to a good day after yesterday’s wind storm. The light wasn’t all that good, but I did find a few birds early.

I went around Wildlife Drive four times, and found my owl again, as well as a few ducks.

Blackwater Dawn 3

Blackwater Dawn.

American White Pelican 2017-2

The American White Pelicans are still hanging out.

Cooper's Hawk 2017-1

This Cooper’s Hawk was the first bird I saw this morning.

Tundra Swan 2017-44

Many Tundra Swans spend the winter.

Red Shouldered Hawk 2017-5

This Red Shouldered Hawk was just a little too far away.

Screech Owl 2017-3

This Screech Owl seems to stay in the same tree for quite some time.

Hooded Merganser 2017-783

Hooded Mergansers seem to fly off as soon as I find them.

American Coot 2017-2

6 American Coots were foraging in the marsh.

American Kestrel 2017-6

I found this American Kestrel along the road.

Great Blue Heron 2017-15

Another perfect Great Blue Heron reflection.

Bald Eagle 2017-37

Bald Eagle 2017-41

Bald Eagle 2017-40 Bald Eagle 2017-39

Bald Eagle 2017-38

This Bald Eagle was enjoying breakfast, when a juvenile came along to see if he would share.

Red Headed Woodpecker at Quiet Waters.

I started at Sandy Point, where the sky was gray from stars to horizon. I didn’t see any interesting birds either, so I went to Thomas Point Road.

I stopped at a couple of places and found a few swans and ducks, then I went to Thomas Point.

The ducks are still a bit too distant, and the numbers aren’t getting any better, so I left and went to Quiet Waters in hopes of finding the Red Headed Woodpecker again, and I got lucky.

Tundra Swan 2017-42

Tundra Swan 2017-41

I caught this Tundra Swan just as he landed.

Redhead 2017-7

I was looking for Redheads mixed in with the Canvasbacks.

Bufflehead 2017-41

This Bufflehead swam right in front of me.

Red Headed Woodpecker 2017-13 Red Headed Woodpecker 2017-12 Red Headed Woodpecker 2017-11

Red Headed Woodpecker 2017-10

It’s unusual to find a Red Headed Woodpecker in AA county.

Screech Owl at Blackwater NWR.

It was a perfect day for Blackwater, and I got there early. The eagles weren’t as active as previously, but there were plenty of ducks and Snow Geese to make up for it.

I made a quick stop at Oakley Street on the way back, and it didn’t disappoint.

Canvasback 2017-15

This is a Canvasback hen.

Great Blue Heron 2017-14

This Great Blue heron is perfectly reflected.

American Wigeon 2017-4

Good light makes all the difference to this American Wigeon image.

American Kestrel 2017-5

It’s not hard to find an American Kestrel perched on the roadside wires.

Hooded Merganser 2017-781

Hooded Merganser 2017-780

The Hooded Mergansers at Blackwater spook easily.

Northern Shoveler 2017-11

Northern Shoveler 2017-12

Many Northern Shovelers were foraging in the marsh.

Lesser Scaup 2017-20

This Lesser Scaup was at Oakley Street.

Red Shouldered Hawk 2017-4

Snow Goose 2017-8

Snow Goose 2017-9 Snow Goose 2017-8

Snow Goose 2017-6

A large flock of Snow Geese was feeding by the side of the road.

Hooded Merganser 2017-780

The Hooded Mergansers at Blackwater spook easily.

Screech Owl 2017-2

Screech Owl 2017-1

This Screech Owl’s camouflage is perfect.

 

Peregrine Falcon at Lake Artemesia.

I met Graeme at Lake Artemesia this morning, and we quickly found there were very few birds around. Very unusual for this time of year.

After a trip around the lake, we set out for Thomas Point, only to find the bird club had overrun the place and scared off all the birds.

We then stopped at my friend’s house and got a few decent pics, even though it was getting late.

Ring Necked Duck 2017-2

There were more Ring Necked Ducks than anything else today.

Canada Goose 2017-1

There were only a few Canada Geese around today.

Tundra Swan 2017-38 Tundra Swan 2017-39 Tundra Swan 2017-38 Tundra Swan 2017-37

Tundra Swan 2017-36

Tundra Swans gave us our best opportunities today.

Canvasback 2017-14

This Canvasback took off as we arrived.

Peregrine Falcon 2017-2

Peregrine Falcon 2017-1

I don’t see many Peregrine Falcons, and I’ve never seen one at Artemesia before.

Lesser Scaup at Thomas Point.

It was cloudy early, so I went to the grocery store and got that chore done. By the time I finished, the sun had come out and I went to Thomas Point.

It’s been pretty consistent lately; a few good birds just a little too far out for good images.

I then stopped by my friend’s house and spent some time with the Swans and Canvasbacks.

Bufflehead 2017-35

Bufflehead 2017-36

There’s usually a few Buffleheads around.

Redhead 2017-6

With so many Canvasbacks, it can be hard to find the few Redheads.

Tundra Swan 2017-34

There’s usually 50 or so Tundra Swans present.

Canvasback 2017-10

Canvasback 2017-11

Canvasback 2017-9

Canvasback 2017-8

There were hundreds of Canvasbacks swimming back and forth.

Lesser Scaup 2017-18

Lesser Scaup 2017-17

There were only a few Scaup mixed in the crowd.

Northern Harrier at Bombay Hook NWR.

I’ve been meaning to get to Bombay Hook for a while, and the stars finally aligned. It’s about 150 miles round trip, and usually well worth it.

I was expecting more shorebirds and sandpipers, but it may be a little early yet. There were plenty of ducks, and they were close enough for decent images, so it was a good day.

Bufflehead 2017-34

A few Buffleheads were present also.

Green Winged Teal 2017-2

Green Winged Teal 2017-1

I didn’t notice this Green Winged Teal until I looked closely at the images.

Northern Pintail 2017-12

Northern Pintail 2017-7

Northern Pintail 2017-11

Northern Pintail 2017-10

Northern Pintail 2017-9

Northern Pintail 2017-8

There are many Northern Pintails in residence.

 

Gadwall 2017-1

Gadwall 2017-2

This is a female Gadwall, a bird I haven’t seen often.

Northern Shoveler 2017-8

There were large numbers of Northern Shovelers also.

Common Merganser 2017-4

I was surprised to find this lone Common Merganser.

Black Duck 2017-3

Black Duck 2017-2

I saw more Black Ducks than I’ve ever seen elsewhere.

American Coot 2017-1

A few American Coots were feeding alongside the ducks.

Northern Harrier 2017-2

Northern Harrier 2017-1

I found this Northern Harrier as I was leaving.

 

Buffleheads at Thomas Point.

I tried Sandy Point this morning, but the sunrise was really bland.

I tried a couple of places along Thomas Point Road, and did better, but the light wasn’t much.

The point actually had a good variety of birds, but not in any great numbers. I hung around for a couple of hours looking for action shots, them headed home.

Canvasback 2017-7

I found this Canvasback early.

Common Goldeneye 2017-38

Common Goldeneye 2017-37

Surf Scoter 2017-26

A single pair of Surf Scoters was foraging at the point.

Horned Grebe 2017-9

I saw a single Horned Grebe.

Red Breasted Merganser 2017-14

There were only a few Red Breasted Mergansers.

Bufflehead 2017-33

There were 40 or so ducks diving for mussels at the point.

Tundra Swan 2017-31 Tundra Swan 2017-30

Tundra Swan 2017-29

These Tundra Swans were at my friend’s house.

Tundra Swan 2017-32

In a flock of Tundra Swans, there’s always a little tension.

Bald Eagle at Blackwater NWR.

I got out out briefly yesterday, and didn’t really find much. I was surprised at the lack of birds at Quiet Waters.

I went back to Blackwater this morning, and the Eagles were in good form, but it was cold and windy and I couldn’t get close to much else.

Blackwater Dawn 1

Dawn at Blackwater NWR.

Bufflehead 2017-29

These Buffleheads were feeding at Thomas Point.

Black Duck 2017-1

Black Ducks are often found at Thomas Point.

Common Loon 2017-1

I found this Common Loon yesterday at Thomas Point.

Great Blue Heron 2017-12

There’s always a few Great Blue Herons fishing at Blackwater.

Northern Shoveler 2017-7

Northern Shovelers and Mallards are the dominant ducks at the moment.

Common Goldeneye 2017-35

Common Goldeneye at Thomas Point.

Horned Grebe 2017-8

Horned Grebe at Quiet Waters.

Bald Eagle 2017-36

Bald Eagle 2017-35 Bald Eagle 2017-34

Bald Eagle 2017-32

I was too close to this Bald Eagle when he flew from his perch.

Ring Necked Ducks at Lake Artemesia.

It wasn’t much of a morning; overcast and cool, but I tried Artemesia anyway. It was disappointing, with very few birds and not much variety.

I was going to go home, but I decided to give Thomas point a try, and it wasn’t any better. There  were birds, but only a few and too far away for interesting images.

Horned Grebe 2017-7

This Horned Grebe was at Thomas Point.

Hooded Merganser 2017-80

Hooded Merganser 2017-779

I saw these Hooded Mergansers as I was leaving.

Pied Billed Grebe 2017-1

Two Pied Billed Grebes were fishing in the lake.

Red Shouldered Hawk 2017-3

This Red Shouldered Hawk was just a little too far away.

Northern Flicker 2017-1

It was too overcast to get a good look at this Northern Flicker.

Ring Necked Duck 2017-1

I kind of like the serenity of these birds. Buffleheads and Ring Necks.