Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Harlequin Ducks

I read on line that Harlequin Ducks had been spotted off the coast of Rockport this week, so I decided I would try to find them on New Year's Day, my last day of vacation.  It was in the low 30s and the wind was whipping like crazy!  I stopped first on Granite Pier and had this nice close up of a Herring Gull.

Herring Gull

Horned Grebe

Harlequin Ducks off Andrews Point

I tried to walk along the Atlantic Path to get closer to these ducks.  It was a narrow foot path with a tricky combination of ice, snow melt (several inches of running water), mud and ledge.  I didn't feel up to scrambling on the slippery rocks, so this distance is as good as it gets.  Still, it was fun to see this variety of sea duck.  I think it looks like a "wood duck of the sea".  They are wintering here off the coast but according to my bird book spend the summer in turbulent mountain streams.

 Northern Cardinal

American Black Ducks

Next, I headed over to Halibut Point State Park.  It was cold and windy there, but I did walk out to the observation point and saw a second bunch of Harlequin Ducks swimming just off shore there.

Greater Black-Backed Gull

Harlequin Ducks

The wind was blowing so hard off the ocean at the observation point that it was hard to steady the camera.  I ended up crouching down next to a slab of granite from the quarry and getting some protection behind it to get this shot, which still isn't as clear as I'd like.....

 flock of small white birds flying just above the surf...don't know what they are though
(poss. Sanderlings)

Motif #1

A cold, but pretty start to the new year and it was fun to find a life bird, the Harlequin Duck.  I had looked for them last year in Rockport without success.

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