I picked a perfect time to go birding along the lake today...right in the middle of a heavy lake effect snow squall, pushed along by a stiff NE breeze off of the lake that made heading back north rather uncomfortable. It actually felt worse than in looks in this cell phone photo: http://bit.ly/fGuNTD.
Exceedingly unbirdy...only nine species for the whole hike. But I did add one new BIGBY species, bringing my MilWALKee BIGBY count to 186, and 2010 "combo" BIGBY count to 225 species.
Here's my *entire* species list for the day:
* Canvasback. Female. My new BIGBY bird. One bird, in one of the several rafts of Scaups. Seems a little late, but I'm not complaining. :-)
* Scaup. (I'm thinking Greater?) Several hundred birds behind the Milwaukee Art Museum. Here's a cell phone photo of one of the rafts...I counted about 190 little black dots in this one: http://bit.ly/hwi5Ax :-) There were a couple of other groups as well.
* Common Goldeneye. A few mixed in with the Scaups.
* American Coot. 10-15
* Mallard. Couple dozen.
* Herring Gulls.
* Ring-billed Gulls.
* Canada Goose. 150+ in Veterans Park. They were nosing around in the snow trying to reach the grass. Made *my* nose cold just to watch!
* Mute Swan. Didn't see any swans behind the art museum on my way south. As I headed back north the snow tapered off briefly and the swans gradually emerged from the snowy backdrop, sort of like a veil being lifted. I'm sure they were there the first time I went by, but it's hard to see white birds (no matter how large they are) in wind-driven heavy snow. Here's a distant cell phone photo, good enough to tell they are swans: http://bit.ly/ewy1Gg :-)