Sunday, November 18, 2012

BSBO Pelagic and a Lifer King Eider

From Carmel, Indiana, Rob writes: This weekend I was in northern Ohio to help lead a Lake Erie pelagic trip for Black Swamp Bird Observatory (BSBO)! My weekend started out with a meeting with Greg Links and Kenn and Kim Kaufman to start planning the field trips for the 2013 Biggest Week in American Birding (BWIAB). We have some awesome trips in the works, so keep an eye on the BWIAB website for some sneak peeks coming soon.

On Saturday, we set off early on the BSBO Bird Bus to head towards Cleveland where we would get on the boat we took into Lake Erie. Two days prior, a female King Eider had been found not too far from the harbor, so we decided to head in that direction. Once we got out of the harbor, we also started chumming for gulls with bread and popcorn. It immediately attracted a huge following of Ring-billed Gulls!

Hundreds of Ring-billed Gulls behind our boat!
As we moved closer to the area where the eider had been hanging out, we found two White-winged Scoters with one Surf Scoter. These birds were lifers for several people on board!

The Surf Scoter in Flight
Just after seeing the scoters, we thought we had spotted the King Eider, but as we got closer we realized we had picked out a different bird. Almost immediately, someone spotted the eider and we slowly moved the boat into position. This was a life bird for me, and it was really amazing to see how distinctive the head shape of an eider is!

Female King Eider
Amazingly, we still had about 2.5 hours left to explore the lake after everyone got their fill of the eider. We moved farther out into the lake towards an area called the "Crib" with our entourage of gulls in tow! The Crib is the main water intake for the Cleveland water supply. It is a huge structure that sits about 3 miles out in the lake. At the Crib, we saw a Peregrine Falcon perched up on the structure.

Peregrine Falcon
This was the farthest we went out into the lake. On our way back towards shore, we scanned all of the gulls but were not able to attract anything rare with all of our chum. Just before we arrived back at the mouth of the river that would lead us to the harbor, someone spotted a Long-tailed Duck. This was the perfect way to cap off the trip.

I got to hang out with a bunch of the awesome staff from BSBO that afternoon, and for dinner we went to one of my favorite restaurants in the Magee Marsh area, The Oregon Inn!

If you think this trip sounds like fun, be sure to join us for one or both of our next trips on November 24 and December 8. You can register for the trips here.

Hope to see you on one of the trips!


Kimberly Kaufman said...

Great post, Rob! It was such an awesome weekend and Kenn and I really enjoyed having some time to just hang out with you! Thanks for being here and for the wonderful trip summary.

see you soon,


Rob Ripma said...

Thanks Kim! Can't wait to be up there again so soon!