Friday, December 29, 2006

Wilson Ponds - Nampa, Idaho

On Christmas day, Karyn and I drove out to Wilson Ponds in Nampa for some bird watching and to get some more time using our joint Christmas present to each other - the 100-400mm lens for our camera (yes, we did cheat and use it for an earlier post as well!).

A report that I had received a day before indicated a high level of bird activity at the ponds. Contributing to the normal activity was the fact that the fish hatchery had released a number of fish into the ponds, causing a large increase in gull activity.

Upon our arrival, there were birds everywhere. We originally the birds in the photo on the left might be Greater Scaups, but an earlier report of Lesser Scaups forced me to study the details more carefully.  While not 100% sure, I now classify these as Lesser Scaups.

As you can see in the picture on the right, there was a great deal of gull activity. I have identified a number of these as Ring-billed Gulls, but I am sure there are some others mixed in as well. We watched as the gulls would dive in for the fish. I watched one pull a fish out of the water, only to fumble it as tried to fly away. We watched a number of failed attempts as well.

A Redtailed Hawk graced our presence for a while as it flew circles over head.

The surprise of the day, at least for me was a group of Yellow-rumped Warblers.  I expected all warblers to have vacated the area months ago.

A couple of our favorites - Belted Kingfisher and Pied-billed Grebe were also present.

Complete list we observed: Ruddy Duck, Canada Goose, Wood Duck, Mallard, Ring-necked Duck, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Belted Kingfisher, Mourning Dove, American Coot, Ring-billed Gull, Red-tailed Hawk, American Kestrel, Pied-billed Grebe, Great Blue Heron, Black-billed Magpie, House Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Yellow-rumped Warbler

Arcticle feature in I and the Bird #40 blog carnival.

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