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.




Thousands of Ducks at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge

The upper part of the bay is largely frozen, so our wintering ducks have found open water near the shipping channel. I was able to get some good looks from the beach at Sandy Point.

All the expected species are present, as well as several Bald Eagles looking for a quick snack.


Sandy Point 3

There is snow and ice all along the beach, and many of the ducks are foraging close to shore.

Bay Bridge 104

There was a foot or more snow in some places.

Canvasback 101

Canvasback 100

Canvasback 103

Canvasback 102

There are at least hundreds of Canvasbacks.

Lesser Scaup 174 Lesser Scaup 173

Lesser Scaup 172

Lesser Scaup probably numbered in the thousands.

Ruddy Duck 82

Ruddy Ducks were well represented.


Song Sparrow 125

Song Sparrow 124

This Song Sparrow was foraging along the beach.

Common Goldeneye 143

Common Goldeneye 142

Several flocks of Common Goldeneyes flew by.

Bald Eagle 381

Bald Eagle 382

Bald Eagle 380

At least ten Bald Eagles were harassing the ducks.

Dark Eyed Junco 17

This Dark Eyed Junco was in the parking lot looking for my sister.


Let it Snow…at Possum point

This is the worst stretch of snow  and cold  I’ve seen in 40+ years in Maryland.

There’s a lot of ice on the bay, and all the shore areas are completely iced in.

I went out this morning and found very few birds, but plenty of snow.

Possum Point 14

View from Possum Point. Ice all the way to the bridge, with a a few birds in small areas of open water.

Possum Point 15

Entrance to Possum Point.

Song Sparrow 123

This Song Sparrow was the only bird I found.

Red Headed Woodpecker 13 Bald Eagle 143 Bald Eagle 142

Common Goldeneye 34 Osprey 215

Red Necked Grebe 15 (1)

A few birds from years past.

Double Crested Cormorant at Possum Point

Cold and cloudy. Not my kind of morning, but there was enough light to take a chance, so I went to Possum Point to see what was there. There was actually a good variety, but not many chances for good photos.

I also stopped at Jonas Green Park and Thomas Point, which were both devoid of water birds. Unusual for this time of year.

Possum Point 11

The ice was thick on the grass.

Possum Point 11

I was late this morning, but there were still some nice cololrs in the sky.

Ring Biiled Gull 88

Ring Billed Gulls are regular visitors.

Peregrine Falcon 12

I was lucky to get any shot at all of this Peregrine Falcon.

Bald Eagle 379

Bald Eagles regularly perch on this antenna, which also holds an Osprey nest.

Double Crested Cormorant 84

Double Crested Cormorant 83

Double Crested Cormorants are almost always found at Possum Point.