Sunday, October 19, 2008

Harrington beach WSO field trip (10/19)

Today was the last WSO field trip of the year. The annual hawk watch field trip to Harrington beach State park. Although, today was anything but a day for watching hawks.   
Mike Mcdowell, Jesse Peterson and I arrived and Harrington beach around 8am this morning. We quickly picked out a large raft of scoters about a third of the way out on the lake.  They, as well as almost all of the other scoters of the day, quickly proved to be Surfs. There were Ring-billed Gulls sitting on the beach and several Bonaparte's Gulls flying out over the lake.  Then, Daryl Tessen showed up and managed to pick out an interesting looking Bonie that had us guessing for awhile.  After scanning for some time, we picked out a couple Horned Grebes and some flyby Red-breasted Mergansers.  Then we joined the main group at the parking lot.  The winds were from almost due south making the hawk watching forecast quite slim.  We didn't see a single raptor from the parking lot.  Bird movement was very slow. Some Juncos were present along with a mixed flock of chickadees and Kinglets. We were able to pick out a couple of Pine Siskins as well.  The best bird there was easily a flyover GREAT TIT. These birds are becoming more common in that area and there is a small breeding population.  It was mostly started from escapees. Who knows though. There might be a wild one in with them and we would never know. 

Jesse, Mike and I cut out around 10:30 and headed up to Sheboygan.  On the way out, we came across a flock of Turkeys. I managed to get a shot of one:

Sheboygan proved to be equally quiet. There was one Sanderling on the beach, some Mallards hanging around and several Ring-billed Gulls:

But that was all. 

Then we headed back to Harrington beach and spent about an hour watching scoters trying to pick out anything else besides Surf.  We thought we had some for a few minutes but then got to a better position and they all turned out to be Surf: 

Locked in the "fossil" position you might call it. 

In the way of hawks, we saw a grand total of 3 Red-tails, 3 Coopers, 1 Kestrel and nothing else.  
We did find several species of ducks though, including Redhead, Bufflehead, both Scaup, Mallard and Black.  
Of the misses for the day, the most notable were two entire families in particular. There were no Sparrows (save for Juncos) and there were no Warblers at all.   
Interesting day albeit slow. 

Happy Birding! 

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