What the Wind Blew In

The extreme northeast winds that threatened the hills and shut down power to thousands over the weekend probably eased the flight for many thousands of migrating birds. Everybody appreciates a strong tailwind. The next morning, another thousand or two Greater Scaup assembled in the bay, this time on the west side of the park, not in the North Basin on the east side. The water is a bit rougher here but that does not bother the Scaup, who are great divers and couldn’t care less if a wave were to swamp them.

The great flock of Scaup that descended on the North Basin a week earlier were gone by now. A few hundred stayed a few days and then dwindled to a couple of dozen, and then nothing. Evidently they were headed further south, but where, I don’t know. The flock that came to the bay after the big wind also didn’t dwell for long. Two days later, not a Scaup was in sight, except for one male that didn’t feel like flying and settled on a rock (below) just east of the Burrowing Owl sanctuary (where there are no owls yet).

Also aided by the big northerly tailwind, a flock of Surf Scoters. Tomorrow.

Greater Scaup (Aythya marila) on rock, with American Coot (Fulica americana)

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