Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Milwaukee Lakefront, 12/6 - Lots of ducks, one new BIGBY

Yesterday I spent three hours prowling the Milwaukee lakefront in single digit wind chills. I was surprisingly comfortable. Must have dressed right. Here's a chill-inducing photo from Bradford Beach...the waves are turning into ice/slush on the shoreline: http://bit.ly/fEcvvd

The surf was surprisingly rough, given that the wind was out of the west, blowing offshore. The flag at the south end of McKinley Beach was pointing straight to the east, yet these waves were coming in *against* the wind: http://bit.ly/h7yjUI

The big highlight of the day was a HUGE raft of ducks off of Bradford Beach. It ran almost the full length of the beach, which is about 2,000 feet long. The northern end of this flock was maybe 100 feet wide, and the southern end was about 300 feet wide, Even if you conservatively estimate 2 ducks per foot over 1500 feet you get 3,000 birds. And I'm pretty sure that's an underestimate.

The ducks were mostly a mix of Scaups, Buffleheads, and Goldeneyes...predominantly Scaups. But there was a new BIGBY bird in the mix: a Long-tailed Duck. MilWALKee BIGBY species #188, and 2010 "combo" BIGBY species #227.

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