It’s been awhile since I’ve attended a Thursday Birder walk. This week their destination was the Tingly Beach duck ponds, so I decided to see some of my birding friends. I brought Scarlett along to introduce her and get a longer hike in after the bird walk. The weather was supposed to be clear and sunny.
It was good to see Joe and Maurice and meet a few new people. The walk started out cold with frost on everything. It made the ground sparkle.
The birds were pretty quiet first thing. I can’t blame them. I’m sure the cold made them want to sleep in.
We saw a Hermit Thrush first deep in the brush. It was a challenge to get a photo.
I heard a White-Breasted Nuthatch and saw several Northern Flickers. We also saw some Eastern Bluebirds at a distance.
When we arrived at the bosque ponds we saw the water was mostly frozen. What waterfowl was on them were congregated in the only unfrozen area.
We heard a Marsh Wren along the pond’s edge but we never saw him.
We left the bosque area and headed for the southernmost pond at Tingly Beach. There are three ponds there and they are connected with pumps and waterfalls. I think the circulation helps keep them from freezing as easily. Because of this a lot of the waterfowl that would have been on the bosque ponds were on this pond instead.
Just before getting to the first pond we spotted a Black-Crowned Night Heron roosting in a tree. He was sound asleep. I don’t think he realized he had 30 people staring at him.
We also saw a porcupine sleeping in a tree.
At the first pond we saw the Common Goldeneye – a male and two females. Plus several Ring-Necked Ducks.
We finished up at the middle pond to do a count of birds seen. The group tries to see more birds than people. We came close seeing 28 birds.
While we were gathered for the count someone spotted a porcupine walking by. Of course several of us jumped up to get a photo! I’d never seen one awake and walking around before.
I said goodbye to my birding friends and headed back into the bosque so Scarlett and I could get some more exercise.
We walked to the river’s edge where a big beach was exposed with inlets of shallow water.
Scarlett immediately started running off puppy energy. She was so happy be let loose. Her favorite thing is to run as fast as she can in shallow water. I was able to get a couple nice shots.
While she ran and played I noticed an area with some interesting ice patterns on the sand. I’ve been trying to practice more macro photography. While I didn’t have a tripod or a macro lens with me, I’m still pleased with some of the photos. I like how the ice reflected the blue sky.
Scarlett had never walked on ice before. She ran across it thinking it was water and was totally shocked. I had to laugh. She didn’t want to go back out on it. She would test an area first before running across. Of course I just had to get her back on the ice for photos. LOL!
Leaving the river we wound our way through the bosque back to the car. I saw a flock of Juncos and a Hairy Woodpecker.
I had parked at the northern duck pond. All the ducks were out of the water snoozing in the sun. I couldn’t resist taking a few closeup photos. I tried to get them with their eyes closed but they were on guard.
I saw a Mallard / American Wigeon cross. I don’t think I’ve seen this combination before.
Scarlett and I ended up walking for 3 1/2 hours. It felt great to be out on this bright sunny day. It ended up warming up to about 45 degrees.