Sunday, December 27, 2015

Warm Weather Equals Fewer Winter Waterfowl

Taking advantage of the beautiful weather, my brother, nephew and I headed to Lake Mattamuskeet early yesterday morning.  I suspected that this may be an odd year because of the weather and there was a noticeable difference in the numbers and diversity of waterfowl.

The lack of really cold weather sufficient to kill back vegetation in the wetland marsh made viewing more difficult.  There were lots of ducks but they were hidden from view.

The weather has been so warm that even some of the reptiles and amphibians don't know it is winter!  Looking at the photo of the Eastern Box Turtle, I wish now I had put something down as a scale.  She was a rather large and beautifully marked turtle.  We stopped and moved her out of the path for fear someone else may not stop and would hit her.



A bullfrog was sitting out catching some rays and enjoying the warmth.

















The numbers of Northen Pintails were down significantly.  The waves of hundreds taking off and landing was not happening. Those that were present were hiding in the grasses.









The numbers of Northern Shovelers was also down but of those that were present, it was fairly easy to get a nice shot of them.













There were several species whose numbers appeared to be greater than normal for the past several years.  The American Wigeon is one of those.  After attempting a decent photo of them for the past couple of years, this year it was fairly easy to get some decent shots.


The numbers of Ring-necked ducks were high this year.   I had to add two photos...one I liked but I also like to show the female of the species.



There were also quite a few more Gadwalls, or at least they were more visible,


The number of Tundra Swans was also down.  We did however find that a rather large flock had shifted over to the Gull Rock Gamelands,  It appeared that there had been quite a lot of work done on one field to attract them and indeed, the swans had responded.



Scanning the trees as we were departing the refuge, an eagle was sitting looking regal as if surveying the activities.  We had seen several juvenile eagles earlier in the day.


Always with an  eye open, we spotted a couple of turkeys in a field on Hwy 94.  Not the best shot.  The vibration of the car is definitely picked up in the photos.  They were there, then gone.




2 comments:

Coppertop said...

Hi Paula - I've not been here for awhile and am enjoying catching up. Your photos are great, nice assortment of critters and birds. Thank you for sharing.
May 2016 bring you good health and wishes come true.

Paula said...

Thanks Liz and same to you. Best wishes for the new year.