My trip started earlier than expected as I awoke around 0230 and dared not go back to sleep for another hour. I finished loading the car and headed out around 0315. I suspected the deer would be everywhere (and they were) and wanted to drive carefully and unhurried. Also driving almost due east, I wanted to for the most part beat sunrise so I was not driving looking into the sun.
I stopped for breakfast around 0530, relaxed a bit from the constant on guard for darting deer and hit the road. I arrived in time to see the sunrise which was beautiful. The lake came alive with motion and sound. Huge V's of Tundra Swan were flying in from their evening roost in nearby fields. The sound of thousands of swan is something to behold. Wings slapping against the water as they squabbled with each other and relocating to another position carried far across the water.
Lake Mattamustkeet is in the heart of the east coast flyway. There is a constant coming and going of various birds so you never know what is in. Most of the snow geese had not arrived. They may however have been further on the outerbanks toward Pea Island NWR. I only saw a few. With the exception of a few pairs, most of the Pintails and Northern Shovlers had not arrived. They both tend to arrive mid-December. I did spot a few. The American Wigeon's were beautiful but not of my shots are up to par.
What was amazing were the number of Coots. Their numbers were unbelievable. I kept seeing these long streaks of dark birds far out on the lake that would come together to form huge dark spots. As they were so far out, my camera would not make that reach so I pulled out the spotting scope and took a shot through it. Apologies for the quality. This was one of my reasons to go was to start getting some practice on digiscoping.
The eagles were quite amazing and put on a good show most of the day. I did learn a valuable lesson....when you get out of the car....ALWAYS take your camera with you. I missed an unbelievable opportunity of two juvenile eagles fighting with each other over a fish. I had only taken the scope out to set up for practice shots. This shot is taken with a Canon 100-400 lens. The distance from the shore line to the line of trees where the eagles like to hang out is right at the outer limits of the lens. Hence, will follow in the next post after I have time to go through the photos some of the digiscoping attempts.
It is a new P&S camera I got to use with the scope and absolutely I still have a lot to learn about how the camera interacts with the scope and figure the best settings. Most of the purpose of this trip was to do just that so when I go back later in December or first part of January, I will hopefully be prepared.