Monday, December 1, 2008

You know it's windy if ...

 ... a long-tailed duck won't even stay in the water:
Tim and I had hoped to cover the county pretty thoroughly today.  We started at New Buffalo in what I thought was a hole in the snow on the doppler and found the beach getting just pounded by the wind and waves.  Water was getting blown all the way up to the dunes.  The full-winter drake long-tailed above must have looked for shelter in the harbor (where the wind was blowing the current up-river) and decided it was more comfortable on land, not something I ever really expected to see in Berrien.  The picture was only possible directly in the lee of the truck's tire out of the windy and frozen spray; it would have been nice to get that reed out of the duck's face, but would have required moving the truck.

We estimated about 40mph winds.  There were about 3 gulls left over the beach, one of which was a juvie glaucous.
I think I would need an SLR camera with some choices of lens to really capture the size of the waves, but just the fact that Tim would go out without bothering to take his scope (and that we'd go no further than about 5-10% of the length of the breakwall in peak purple sandpiper season) may say more than the pics.
We continued on to the landfill and 3 Oaks, ultimately seeing several juvie glaucous gulls, an adult and a 3rd winter lesser black-backed, an adult greater black-backed, and 2 juvie Thayer's gulls which offered good studies both at rest and in flight.  One of the Thayer's was slightly paler and longer billed than the 2nd (which briefly sat directly next to a small juvie glaucous, would have been a nice pic with a lot more light and a lot less wind...)

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