Thursday, March 13, 2008

Green-winged Teal At Portland Fairgrounds

I stopped by Auer Farm in Bloomfield Tuesday afternoon after work. This was a perfect place to unwind and take a walk after work. As I looked at the top of a hill near the apple orchard, I was rewarded with a beautiful view of 8 White-tailed Deer. I zoomed in on 3 of them as they grazed on the all-natural organic grass. Sunday 3/9/08; Searching For New Ducks: In the month of March, waterfowl start to gather together at certain locations before heading to their breeding grounds. From what I read on the COA website, this is called "staging". I decided to search some local ponds hoping to see what turned up. I checked a little pond off of Route 68 in Durham, hoping to spot a couple of Northern Pintail, which had been seen there recently. This is the same pond where I saw my first Ruddy Duck. No luck with the pintail here, but if you look closely at the above photo, you may get a glimpse of the "elusive" Canada Goose.

After checking these ponds, I stopped at White Farm Conservation area which is adjacent to The Durham Fairgrounds off of Route 17. The first thing I noticed was that these fields were flooded and had a healthy population of Killdeer. When I used a spotting scope to search the back end of the area I saw a few Green-winged Teal. They soon flew off further into what I believe is a portion of the Durham Meadows Wildlife Management area. It surprises me how small these ducks look when they're flying. They are so tiny compared to Mallards.
My main focus, for at least the start of this month, is to check ponds, rivers, marshes, and flooded fields that are fairly close to home. I had a little bit of luck at the beginning of March when I saw a flock of Ring-necked Ducks in Portland. I was close enough to get photos but the I couldn't seem to see its eyes well in any of the photos. Maybe I should go back and read Part I -(How to be a quite good bird photographer)- and Part II -(How to avoid being arrested for Bad Bird Photography)- from the bird photography series at Belltower Birding.
I also checked Dooley's Pond in Middletown from the boat launch area. Do you see the Fork-tailed Diving Duck? It's so rare, that it's never been seen by humans. Keep looking toward the left side of the pond. It's going to surface any minute now. As you can probably see-the pond is birdless- at least on this end. I always wonder why certain ponds seem to attract interesting waterfowl while others do not. I know that it has to do with water depth, size of the lake/pond, food sources and location of the ponds. What are some of the other factors? Certain ponds show up on rare bird reports all the time. What makes those ponds so attractive to particular species?
My last visit was at Wangunk Meadows in Portland. Once again, it looks like someone went four-wheeling and ended up trashing their vehicle. Something about this picture struck me funny though. Do you see that little yellow container on the ground next to the vehicle?
What were they thinking? A little elbow grease and some Clorox Wipes will fix the problem?
There were more Green-winged Teal at the fairgrounds, but they were out of camera distance. This is the only photo of Green-winged Teal that I have. It was taken a couple of years ago at the same location. They may not be uncommon but I don't often get a chance to see them. I think they're a pretty sharp looking bird. I'll be looking forward to seeing Wilson's Snipe, which have showed up in big numbers at the fairgrounds in the month of March for the last couple of years. My search for is coming along a little bit slowly but I look forward to checking more local ponds and marshes this weekend. I'd like to see some Blue-winged Teal or Northern Pintail this month. Oh, by the way-did I tell you that I hate the whole daylight savings thing? I say just set the clocks ahead and leave them that way forever.

24 comments:

mon@rch said...

I love having the extra hour after work each day to spend more time outside! My though!! Green-winged Teal . . very cool! Many other great waterfowl you found!

Patrice said...

As usual, great photos. I love ducks.

Aunt "B's" Backyard said...

Never saw a Green-winged Teal, it's just beautiful!! You had such a wonderful time, it seems!
Great shots!!

Jayne said...

Wonderful quackers!

Sandpiper said...

Great sightings of the deer on the ridge and the ducks. So many Canada Geese! Love the trashed car with the Clorox wipes.

Veery said...

Your posts are always to fun to read! I would love to not have any time schedule, but that would be in my dreams! :-)

Good birding to you (and great teal shots)!

Tera Rose said...

Those green ducks are beautiful!

maybe the colox wipes are to hide fingerprints????

lol

aka-momhawk

Lana Gramlich said...

Living so close to the swamps here, I figured observing water birds would be a cinch. Boy was I ever wrong! They have acres upon acres of marsh grasses to hide behind here! Sometimes you can't even get CLOSE to them. Makes me miss Jones Beach (on Long Island.)

Larry said...

monarch-yes-It's nice to have visitors like the Green-winged teal in Portland this month.-I'm hoping to see more.

Patrice-thanks.

aunt B's-I always have a great time if I can enjoy the outdoors!

jayne-I'm looking for those quality quackers-some of them aren't all they're quacked up to be.

Sandpiper-If you love the trashed car and the Clorox Wipes you can have them for the low price of $49.95

veery-It does sound good doesn't it.-I hope to have a chance to get some closeup shots of a different species of duck on a sunny day.-They are usually far away or there's no sun.

tera rose-Good to see you found an identity-and I see you started 2 blogs.-So that's what the wipes are for-to clean up the prints! Now it's all starting to make sense.

Lana-I do have trouble getting close-ups of ducks-(other than Mallards)-It's times like that when I wish that I was set up for digiscoping or had a high powered zoom lens.

sarala said...

I'd like to see one of the green winged teal. I'd also like a high powered zoom lens. Sigh.
If you and I agree not to change our clocks in the fall do you think the rest of the country would follow suit?

Mary said...

You crack me up, "elusive" Canada Goose".

Don't whine about your bird photography. It's wonderful.

Ponds with very shallow banks give you herons and egrets. Other than that, I don't know much else as to why some ponds and lakes attract the most waterfowl.

Yeah - what's with the Clorox wipes?

Larry said...

Larry said...
Sarala-They did shorten the amount of times that they set the clock back.-I hope that they get rid of the idea all together. There are other ways to tackle the problems that led them to starting it in the the first place.

Mary--I have to give you credit Mary-You always catch those little details
-maybe they were getting ready to shoot a clorox wipes commercial.

Kathiesbirds said...

One of the benifits of being in AZ is we don't participate in Daylight Savings Time! Yeah! Your sense of humor was in full swing today. Did you have a good helping of sarcasm for breakfast! Great post! I loved it!

Ruth said...

I still am not used to the time change! You give me a preview of what I may see 4-6 weeks from now up here. Nice pictures.

PA-Birder said...

Larry,
I believe in "Half-Time" This fall we should just fall back a half hour and leave the clocks alone after that. Seems like a good compromise to me.
Vern

Sandpiper said...

LOL I'll pass on that wonderful sale. Thanks anyway. We sold 22+/- acres of land in Bolton Notch last year (the old Manchester Drive-In.) You wouldn't believe all the ATV tracks, biker jumps, paintballers, cut trees, trash, and abandoned cars there - all left by trespassers. I would have liked to have kept it and built on it, but I sure wouldn't have wanted to clean up the mess.

Jochen said...

Well, Larry, you may want to interrupt your car wreck theme (Oh no, don't!!) for the 6-words-Memoir meme!
Visit my blog to see what it is about.

Jochen said...

The exposure to wind is another important factor regarding the use and distribution of ducks on a pond. And something wind-related: I think the kind of waves that appear on a body of water in connection with wind is significant as well (apparently, so I am told, each lake/pond/sea has a characteristic and typical wave pattern).
I once stood on one of our large bays at the Baltic coast and was intrigued why there were not ducks to be seen anywhere. Then someone - completely bird-unrelated - told me that "these are the typical waves of the bay". So I looked and the waves were small, yet high and steep and had a high frequency. It got me thinking that even a resting duck would get seasick on this kind of hectic surface and that maybe that was the reason there were no ducks.

Thanks for the links to my blog!!

dguzman said...

Larry--thanks for the links to the photography tips. Those nictating membrane shots are pretty creepy.

steadyjohn said...

Yeah, I hate the clock routine also, so I leave my clocks alone. The computer and phone clocks change automatically so don't have to worry about them.Can't wait until I'm eligible for this clock! Also I have a new posting on Falconry, I'm sure there are plenty of pros and cons about this with your readers. Anyway it's Falconry in Connecticut.

Travis said...

Great photos. Thanks for sharing. I really enjoyed your blog. Check out my Iowa Nature Photos if you get a chance. Great work.

Cathy said...

Those Teal are sooo beautiful. I too hate the daylight savings thing. It really messed us up after our week in Phoenix.


(That car with Clorox wipes is a hoot! I guess some one is a real optimist :0)

Larry said...

kathiebird-I'm glad you are able to recognize sarcasm-that's the danger of sarcasm-some people don't know where you're coming from.

ruth-Thanks Ruth-it's interesting to know what birds you are seing in your neck of the woods compared to what we are seeing here.

pa-birder-I'll take any improvement I can get!

jochen-Interesting information.-Perhaps I'll bait the lakes with motion sickness pills for the duckies!-No really though-your blog posts often have helpful information about birding so I think people who are interested in birding should read it!

Larry said...

dzugman-Your welcome for the links-thanks for checking them out.

travis-thank you and I will.

Cathy-Must be one heckuva product!