Very strong winds greeted us this morning, with gusts over 40mph at times. Worse, it was from the north, which resulted in very little shelter from the cold blow. While we have lots of sheltered locations on a strong northwest, the straight northerly comes tearing down through some of our favorite stops on our regular "Town Landing Tour."
So we made a few adjustments, and ended up having a pretty good morning! The highlight was an AMERICAN WOODCOCK that flushed out of a yard while we were driving South Freeport Road, flying parallel to the cars before crossing safely - but fairly closely - in front of us. You don't often get to see a woodcock in broad daylight!
Waves and whitecaps - even on relatively sheltered waters - kept our waterbird tallies down. Furthermore, with the recent warm weather, bay ducks are already dispersing. In other words, our tallies were a fraction of what we have been enjoying throughout the winter. The exception were AMERICAN BLACK DUCKS (50+) and CANADA GEESE (136) that are already returning, and returning to marshes and fields that were ice and snow covered until recently.
Other waterbird tallies were modest: 75 HERRING GULLS, 50 COMMON EIDERS, 41 BUFFLEHEADS, 27 COMMON GOLDENEYES, 20 MALLARDS, 18 RING-BILLED GULLS, 4 GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULLS, 2 LONG-TAILED DUCKS, 2 COMMON LOONS, 2 COMMON MERGANSERS, and one lone HOODED MERGANSER.
We did see 4 BALD EAGLES, however, and were treated to 3 EASTERN BLUEBIRDS that put on a good show for us at the Yarmouth Town Landing. We had a good comparison between a COMMON RAVEN and AMERICAN CROWS overhead as well. Two SONG SPARROWS were in full song, as were a couple of NORTHERN CARDINALS - signs of spring even though it didn't really feel like it this morning!