Thursday, December 16, 2010

Milwaukee Lakefront, 12/14 - Turkey, Harlequin and Long-tailed Ducks

Tuesday I surveyed my Milwaukee CBC route (the south end of my regular BIGBY route). I was out for 3+ hours in single digit wind chills. Brrrr!

I saw a turkey in Veterans Park! Unfortunately, I can't add it to my BIGBY list. See here to find out why:  :-)

Must have been some big waves with this past weekend's storm, judging from the ice on the railings behind Milwaukee's art museum. See here for an idea of what the railings usually look like, sans ice: Then see here for a section of the railing encased in ice and icicles:

Speaking of ice, the Veterans Park lagoon and McKinley Marina are pretty much frozen over. The Discovery World harbor and Lakeshore State Park lagoon are, as well, with a few patches of open water. But the Milwaukee Harbor is wide open...that's where I'm pinning my hopes for my Saturday CBC route!

Some highlights from today:

* Many, many, many ducks in Milwaukee's harbor (off of Veterans Park, behind the art museum, and off of Lakeshore State Park). I am estimating 10,000-12,000 ducks. Mostly Scaups, but with quite a few Common Goldeneyes. It was a really amazing sight to me. I stood still on the rocks in Lakeshore State Park and soaked in this scene for 10-15 minutes.

* While I was admiring the Scaups, I noticed another creature doing the same. One of the park's resident Red Foxes was sitting on a rock and staring wistfully at all the ducks, some of which were quite close to shore. The park's foxes are on a largely vegetarian diet right now, judging from the scats I've examined. I imagined the fox thinking "come closer, come closer"! :-)

* Harlequin Duck. One female, in the mix of ducks behind the art museum.

* Long-tailed Duck. One female, in a small area of open water in the Lakeshore State Park lagoon.

* Ruddy Ducks. A dozen or two, behind the art museum.

* Mergansers, both Common and Red-breasted.

Looking forward to my first Wisconsin CBC!

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