Thursday, January 26, 2012

Lunenburg (Whalom Lake) 1/26

This winter's relatively mild weather has allowed portions of  Whalom Lake in Lunenburg, Ma. to relatively remain ice free. Singnificant numbers of waterfowl and gulls have been congragating, during late afternoon/early evening to roost. Numbers of puddle ducks, mainly Mallards have topped out at about 1500, these are difficult to count as Mallards usually arrive well after sunset. Generally there is a much smaller number of Black Ducks and earlier in the month at least 1 Green-winged Teal. Canada Goose numbers had been in the order of 600 +/-.

On the Gull side of the equation: Great Black-backed Gulls max. count was 160, Herring at ~600-700, but Ring-billed Gulls have numbered very few (usually less than 20 this winter). "Ringers" hang out near the lake during the day, looking for handouts, but appear to vacate the area when the "big boys" arrive. Less common gull species have also made an appearance, with an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull on 12/18/2011 (the Groton CBC) and a 1st winter bird on 1/18 (first spotted by Bart Kamp a few day before). A 1st winter Glaucous Gull showed on 1/3, but not since; and at least 3 different Iceland Gulls have made appeances during January; including an adult, 2nd winter and a darker 1st winter bird.

 This evening, 1/26, the lake was nearly frozen, except for a small patch nearshore, less than 100 Mallards arrived after sunset, 2 Canada Geese were present (1 sick and dying another appeared dead near a small inlet pipe), also was a Herring Gull that hadn't move since yesterday (but was still holding its head up). About 500 gulls arrived, but after about 15-20 minutes about 75% of the birds picked up and headed east, so perhaps this gull roost is about done for the winter, with lake frozen.
This sickly Canada Goose was moving a little when I arrived, but afterwards held this exact pose for a least an hour, literally on its "last leg". On the 18th Bart Kamp watched a Bald Eagle make a few passes on this goose, but the eagle moved on without finishing the goose off.
Above, an apparent 2nd winter Iceland Gull with Herring and Great Black-back Gulls.

The Great Black-backed Gull to the left had dirty markings on its head, they were not symetrical and the dirty markings apeared to be just that, "dirt". The other side of the birds head and chest were clean, perhaps a result of scavaging.

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