|What is this guy doing in the wildlife refuge hanging out with the Canada Geese?|
A barnyard goose, known when wild as a Greylag.
Triangles of black, diamonds of red, flashing before our eyes, or in my case before the binoculars, like moving wallpaper against the sky. Red-winged Blackbirds. Hundreds.....thousands even, taking off in unison just as we parked the car near a marsh in Wayne County. A veritable quilt of birds like something in a National Geographic special.
It was a sight I will never forget. All I could say was wow...wow.....wow....over and over again. We tried to get photos of the phenomenon, but they weren't all that afraid of us, and there was only the shuttling of a few here and a few there after that first great flight. Still, even the sound of their calls was amazing.
|Click to embiggen|
It was the culmination of one of the greatest days of birding I have ever experienced.
Before we even left our home county we passed under a sky penciled with flocks of hundreds upon hundreds of Canada Geese. At the swamp the flights seemed endless, and included stunning clouds of ducks. More ducks than I ever imagined existed.
They dove and dabbled and napped on the surface of the pools near the access loop road, just waiting to be admired and photographed.
There were so many American Wigeons, Ring-necked Ducks, Northern Shovelers, and Gadwalls, that we soon looked past them for more exotic fare. Mind you I never saw a Gadwall before our Florida trip but yesterday we saw hundreds.
Ruddy Ducks and Canvasbacks are normally big deal-type birds for us. Yesterday we saw a plethora of the latter and enough of the former to actually get photos of them. Lots of Scaup too.
Alan hunted down the marsh where the Sandhill Cranes nested this summer. As we drove up the dirt road, a flock of swans flew across in front of us. Swans. I know they are common in some places, but we sure don't see them very often down here on the eastern Mohawk. There was even a flock of twenty or so noodling around in a cornfield, for all the world like Canada Geese only bigger. Whiter. Rarer by far.
It was really a lot of fun.