One of three American Woodcock I found around the Bashakill yesterday.

Tremendous numbers of waterfowl continue. I was able to do another meticulous count yesterday, totaling 572 Ring-necked Ducks. This species is always found in big numbers, but I think the ongoing frozen water in most areas is concentrating the birds at the Bashakill which continues to open further daily. Another species that has been affected by the recent deep snow and unusually cold temps are Woodcock. These birds showed up in mid February. Since then, habitat for them has almost completely disappeared. Deep snow is not favorable for this bird that gets its food from open mucky areas with grubs and worms in them. With that in mind I sought out Woodcock yesterday. I checked about a dozen “seeps” around the Bashakill. A “Seep” is a spot where warm water oozes out of the ground, keeping the surrounding area open and unfrozen. I was sure that I would find some Woodcock in these areas since most of the spots they normally are can no longer support them at this time. I was rewarded by finding a total of three Woodcock yesterday afternoon. All three were single birds in separate locations around the Bashakill. They were actively boring in the muck where I found them, though I never saw them actually consume any prey, hopefully they were successful. Great Blue Herons are also showing up, I had three of them along the Birch Trail yesterday too. All of the ducks I’ve previously mentioned can still be seen. Hopefully some more new migrants will be arriving.

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