Last Friday there was a bit of sun, and some brisk north to northeast winds. Perfect for Golden Eagles, I thought, so I spent some time in the campground of Rondeau, which is now closed to camping until next April. There is lots of good views of the sky, and I had seen Golden Eagles from this location before, but not today. The only eagle I got was this immature Bald Eagle. I later found out that during the hawkwatch at Hawk Cliff farther east that day, they had 43 Golden Eagles go by! Hopefully some will still make their way by Rondeau.
I was surprised at how little raptor action there was, but I was kept busy with a few other species. American Robins were numerous, feeding on the abundant crop of Red Cedar berries.
They frequently came to a puddle on the road for a sip of water.
On Saturday morning, I met up with Steve Charbonneau and Blake Mann for a couple of hours at daybreak at the Dog Beach access, scanning for waterbirds going by. It was very overcast and quite windy, but at least the brisk east wind off the slightly warmer water kept the temperature at about 9C, not the 3C it was when I left home. Birds were fairly plentiful, but hard to photograph under such dark and windy conditions, especially since most of the birds were out beyond good camera range. We did get a few loons, and all three scoter species, along with a few other ducks. Two Long-tailed Ducks flew by, but I only got one barely decent record shot.
A couple of Bald Eagles came by....the bland sky made it challenging.
Today was cloudy to begin with, but the winds were moderate from the north, and there was a promise of some sunshine as the day went on. I decided to set up along one of the open road areas near the Morpeth Cliffs, hoping that raptors on the move would be blown down close to the lake shore and follow it along. Turns out it was a good decision. Over the course of almost three hours, I ended up with eight raptor species (including Turkey Vulture....technically not a raptor, but it migrates along with them) plus the two Sadler brothers and a flock of about 15 Tundra Swans that appeared to have just arrived from points farther north. Highlights included Peregrine Falcon, Red-shouldered Hawk and lots of eagles! In fact of the 160+ birds I noted passing by, I got 13 Bald Eagles and 6 Goldens! A lot of the raptors were moving quickly, or at quite a distance, which made getting decent photos difficult. I would guess that the two Golden Eagles below were at least one kilometre away, perhaps two. So some were at least greatly cropped record shots.
|Golden Eagle (subadult)|
|Golden Eagle (juvenile)|
And for anyone planning to drop in there, some construction activity is going on, so part of the northern lagoon area was inaccessible.
|Rear view of Snow Goose (blue phase)|