Sullivan County Red Crossbill and Waterfowl influx!

Surf Scoter on Yankee Lake

Surf Scoter on Yankee Lake

This morning I checked the lake for waterfowl. There has been nothing of note so far this season, but this morning was different. The first bird I spotted was a female SURF SCOTER! This was the first scoter I have had in the county this year. The best part is it is the least common of the three scoters here. I called Arlene Borko and Scott Baldinger and they were both able to come over and see the bird. Also present was a Bufflehead and an Osprey. I then headed up county to check if anything had come in there. As I was scanning Kiamesha Lake, I heard the familiar call of a RED CROSSBILL !!! Though I have seen these birds many times, this is the first time I have ever had one in Sullivan County. The bird, a female, was calling repeatedly from a stand of nearby White Pines. I scanned and scanned, but couldn’t spot the bird. Fortunately it kept calling its chp chp chp notes and as it took off from the tallest pine I was able to get on it. At that point I saw the pea-green color and realized it was a female. Fortunatley, it flew down the side of the lake directly to me. It then banked right in front of me (I think it was going to land on the beach) but my movement startled it. It flew to several stands of pines and then finally right up the road. I drove to the end of the road, sure I would never see it again, and relocated it immediately. This time when it took off, heading back toward the lake, I wasn’t able to find it again. It has been predicted that we might get a modest influx of this species this winter, hopefully this is a good sign that it is going to happen. I then went to the Bashakill where things were about status quo. Red-breasted Nuthatch and Pine Siskin being the best birds I saw. I then returned home for lunch and to check the lake for the scoter. Not only was the scoter still there, but it had been joined by several other species. I immediately launched my kayak, setting out to get some photos of these birds. The Surf Scoter was joined by a Horned Grebe, Red-breasted Merganser and a Double-crested Cormorant. The Bufflehead was nowhere to be found. I got some identifiable shots of a couple of the birds. All in all it was a great weekend for waterfowl. Pied-billed and Horned Grebe, Ring-necked, Black, Ruddy, Mallard, and Wood Ducks, American Wigeon, Green-winged Teal, Bufflehead and Northern Pintail, Common and Red-breasted Merganser. What a great weekend!

Female Red-breasted Merganser on Yankee Lake

Female Red-breasted Merganser on Yankee Lake

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