It was cold, but it was calm - even at the point, so it was a wonderfully pleasant visit to our local birding hotspot.
While overall duck numbers were quite low for a variety of reasons, the close, long, and perfect views of a spiffy drake BARROW'S GOLDENEYE (E) more than made up for it. In fact, it very well might end up as our view of the season, as it was dead calm, light was perfect, and it was not even diving.
We first spotted next to a few COMMON GOLDENEYE (30 total on the morning), for a great comparison as well. Most other ducks were not as well-seen, but included 100 BUFFLEHEADS, 50 COMMON EIDERS, 50 AMERICAN BLACK DUCKS, 25 MALLARDS, 12 LONG-TAILED DUCKS, 12 CANADA GEESE, 6 RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS, and 4 SURF SCOTERS. A total of 8 COMMON LOONS was a decent tally, and we also spotted a single HORNED GREBE. About 40 RING-BILLED GULLS and 10 HERRING GULLS were also present.
We encountered two mixed species foraging flocks, with one well sifted through, yielding totals of 6 BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES, 4 TUFTED TITMICE, 2 WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCHES, and 1 each of RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER, RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH, GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET, and a cooperative BROWN CREEPER. A COMMON RAVEN was escorted out of the airspace by several AMERICAN CROWS, and a couple of AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES flitted about.
And we started the outing with an adult female SHARP-SHINNED HAWK in the store parking lot that arrived like a missile right over our heads!