Tuesday, December 15, 2015

You Can't Get Away From the Birds Down Here - Back to Carolina Beach Lake!

I had pretty much eliminated Carolina Beach Lake from my daily sightings as last year there were literally no birds but the ever present Mallards and a few American Coots.  I went down to check on the Coot population this year as the lake is covered with algae and the fountains are not going like they were last year.  I was shocked to see this Canvasback Duck which is a duck I have only seen one other time and that was up at Matamuskeet where all the ducks winter and even then I only saw one at a distance.  It is a relatively common duck but I just haven't seen them.  He likes to hang out in the middle of the lake though which makes photography a challenge!  You can see his defining characteristics here though, red head, black neck and top of head and beak and stark white back.  I have been down there each day trying to get the perfect photo without a lot of luck!

 Here he is with what I think are female Red-headed ducks and male and female mallards.

 A picture from another day but you can see his eye here.  It is very difficult to get good pictures of very  high contrast birds in the water and he is high contrast!!

This picture and the next were taken as he shook himself off after a dive.  He dabbles mostly but occasionally dives for some food.

His wings are back here.

These Mallards in the sun just were begging for their picture to be taken.

A couple of the American Coots with their friend the Killdeer were standing by the side of the lake.

This group of Ibis were standing around today waiting for the rain.  Rare to see them all with their bills out of the water!!

A couple were preening by the side of the lake with even more Killdeers.  You can see the black tips on their wings clearly here.  These are mature adults.  The juveniles are brown.

I believe these are female Redheads as they just look too light to be Scaups and their heads are too round.  There were three of these hanging out with the Canvasback.

Our house is a block from the beach with no obstructions.  the other day sitting on the porch reading I noticed a large number of Gannets diving at our beach access so I went down to see if I could get a closer look.  There were probably a 100 of them altogether, both adults and  one and two year juveniles.  They were diving like crazy.  You can see a couple of them have just left the water.  This went on for about an hour.  Last year there was a HUGE occurrence of these in January over a two day period -- 1000's of these seabirds.  They are one of my favorites down here.

They were pretty far out but this is a pretty good closeup of one.  They are large, mostly bright white with a beige head and black wing tips.  They are so large and striking, you can see then from a distance,

A just one more sunrise picture -- this doesn't happen very often (getting the pictures that is)!!

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