Saturday, March 8, 2014

An Invasion of Waterfowl from the Great Lakes

For the past couple weeks there has been an invasion, into the midwest, of many species of waterbirds that usually winter on the Great Lakes.  With the below-average temperatures in the region this winter, the Great Lakes are almost completely frozen over.  The waterfowl that winter on the Great Lakes, such as Long-tailed Duck, White-winged Scoter, and Red-necked Grebe [the numbers of RNGRs are more complicated to explain, but the freeze up of the Great Lakes have had an impact in one way or another on their numbers on inland lakes] have shown up at inland lakes in unprecedented numbers.  The question is what will show up next, maybe a Barrow's Goldeneye?  There will be no better year to find one at an inland location than this year.

2 adult male Long-tailed Ducks and 2 female Long-taileds are
present at Geist Reservoir
White-winged Scoter at Geist in Indianapolis

It was quite a show today at Geist Reservoir.  It included 3 Red-necked Grebes, 4 Long-tailed Ducks, a White-winged Scoter and a Lesser Black-backed Gull.  If these highlights weren't enough there were hundreds of other waterfowl of at least 21 species.  When you add in Tree Swallows and Sandhill Cranes, you can hardly ask for a better birding spot.

This Lesser Black-backed Gull made some close flybys.
Lesser Black-backed Gull

Lesser Black-backed Gull
-Eric

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