snow is melting
The snow is finally starting to melt with temperatures in the 40’s today. This evening I decided to head over to the Quaker side of Allegany State Park to do a little birding. Despite the rain that started falling, I saw some wonderful birds. Ospreys were fishing with only one dive attempt which came up empty. There were numerous loons and mergansers that I was able to see swimming around. I enjoyed finding a Double Crested Cormorant near the overspill, but wait . . . what is that flying?? Bonaparte’s Gull, CHECK first for the year!! Not one but three or four could be seen flying around the lake. This is the only time of the year which we can locate these gulls flying through this area and I was starting to worry that I would miss seeing them this year due to this crazy weather. All these gulls were adults in their alternate (breeding) plumage, like we typically find them in this area. I hope they stick around for my count that I am doing on Sunday.
Other ducks observed included Ring-necked Ducks, Horned Grebes and Buffleheads. I decided to drive over to where my bluebird boxes were located and thought I had seen a Kestrel up in the tree. I turned the truck around (so I can see better due to the rain and check out the Osprey Nest). I slowly made it back to the falcon and something wasn’t right?? Kestrels don’t have banded tails like that?? the color pattern isn’t right?? Could this bird be it a Merlin?? I pulled the field guide out! Sure enough, Merlin, CHECK first for the year!! This poor bird wasn’t enjoying the rain and very skittish. I tried to move my truck a little closer for a better photo and away it went. Not bad for a rainy day, at least it wasn’t snowing (whoops, it was snowing in the higher elevations).