Saturday, December 4, 2010

Milwaukee Lakefront, 12/4 - Lake effect snow squall and one new BIGBY

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:

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:  :-) 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:  :-)

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