Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Cold Snap Waterfowl

Thanks to El Nino, the Portland area is seeing its lowest temperatures in ten years. The cold, clear weather makes for great sunrises and sunsets.

Most of the local ponds are iced over, so small areas of open water were popular places for waterfowl at Dawson Creek Park.

This hole in the ice was surrounded by at least 40 Green-winged Teal, the most we have ever seen at the park. A few Wood Ducks and Mallards were mixed in as well. A pair of Pied-billed Grebes, a fixture of this pond, were floating in the center.

Closer to the library, a huge flock of white-cheeked geese (Cackling and Canada Geese) occupied the grass, ice, and water.

They kept busy by commuting from the field to the pond and back again.

The white bird in the center is a juvenile Snow Goose, a new Dawson Creek species for us.

In addition to the waterfowl, a nutria strutted atop the ice. There is plenty of beaver sign at the park, but we only see their introduced cousins during the day.
We expect to return to normal temperatures and rain next week, so I will enjoy the Rockies-like weather while I can.


Kathiesbirds said...

I enlarged the photo and could see the grebes! What a perfect ring of ducks! I did not know we had nutira in the USA. And all I can say is, that's a lot of geese to count for eBird! (IF you count that is.)

EcoRover said...

Holy cow, the cold weather must be forcing the waterfowl to migrate your way? Didn't know nutria had moved this far north. Was over on another blog in a starling discussion: at what point do we quit fighting an introduced/invasive species and accept it as "natural?" I appreciate my Indian students' perspective on this question.