We got an e-mail from Suaanne Johnson in Eldorado last evening. It seems another rarity was seen there at the water treatment ponds. Suzanne and her husband, Sid, were birding there and spotted a Black Scoter (Melanitta nigra). They got pictures and had the sighting verified with the proper authorities. The Black Scoter (male pictured above) is normally seen only on the Atlantic and Pacific coastlines. So the female that they saw apparently was lost.
Ann and I drove down there this morning, but we weren’t able to see it. I probably took off and got back on course to it’s normal habitat.
But while we were there, we saw this Wilson’s Snipe (Gallinago delicata) in the weeds along the shorline of one of the ponds. Then further along this juvenile Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis) appeared. He looked like he lost his momma, but he was large enough to fly, as he did shortly after I took this photo.
Soe even though the Black Scoter eluded us, I feel satisfied that I got the above photographs. Our total birding species count was 23. We were there for only two hours. Following is the list:
- Cattle Egret
- Eastern Phoebe
- Vermilion Flycatcher
- Red-winged Blackbird
- Lesser Scaup
- Eared Grebe
- American Coot
- Ruddy Duck
- Northern Shoveler
- Pintail Duck
- Ring-necked Duck
- Egyptian Goose
- Hermit Thrush
- Pied-billed Grebe
- American Kestrel
- Wilson’s Snipe
- Savanah Sparrow
- Black Vulture
The EXIF data was identical for both images except for the ISO, which was 100 for the egret and 640 for the snipe. Otherwise the camera was my Canon 7D, Canon 100-400mm lens, 1/640 sec. @f7.1. Spot metering with aperture priority. Of course, the image of the Black Scoter is not mine.
Click on any photo to see an enlargement. Have a great weekend. 🙂
I agree that we also have had some birds that normally are not in our area..Love the egret..he is so fluffy and soft looking..great photos..
I often wonder as the hoards are flying over me on their migrations how many will make it. Will any just not feel up to the flight the next day, stay ‘home’ to follow later and then get confused, lost or blown off course? I guess I assume the odds are that a few aren’t up to the absolute miracle of the migration.
I would say all of the above. I do believe there is a lot stress to the migration. I am inclined to agree with all that you said. Thanks, Cindy.
Oh my that juvie egret is adorable! I hope he found his momma! The story of the scoter reminded me of the bird we were trying to identify in my vacation photos – seeing the shape of this bird’s head makes me think you were probably right; is there more than one type of scoter?
Yes,, I think there are about 3 or 4 different types of scoters. Yes that egret is a real cutie, with the wind blowing his feathers a bit. We spent two hours in the area and never saw another one. So the whereabouts of his family is unknown. But he was mature enough that when he took flight he looked almost adult. Thanks, Karen, for the comment.
Perhaps you’ll see the Black Scoter on another visit, here in Utah, a long way from the coast we had sightings of three different scoter species in the past two weeks, all of them in the same general location.
Nice work on the Wilson’s Snipe, they can be a challenge to photograph. The young Cattle Egret is beautiful.
Isn’t it amazing that there can be so many such sightings of “mis-located” birds around the country. It enhances the enjoyment of birding, (and bird photography) because you never know what may appear, when you least expect it.
Those snipes can camoflage themselves it is almost impossible to see when you are sometimes looking right at it. And they are almost always in dense weeds or brush. Thanks for comments, Mia. I appreciate it.