December 29, 2012
Yesterday will be remembered as a beautiful sunny day, but I can tell you that early in the morning at Wellington Harbour it was anything but that.
This picture of a pair of Mute Swans in flight shows just how bleak the conditions were when I arrived at about 9:30 am yesterday. Of course I would always prefer a little more light than this, but I love the bleak, lonely mood that this dim light gives to the image.
Along with the swans, there were hundreds (if not thousands) of Canada Geese. There were also Mallards, Goldeneye, Buffleheads, a female Red-breasted Merganser, and these four American Coots.
I know it looks like only 3 ducks, but there is a fourth hiding at the back. These guys stayed in a very close grouping most of the time while I was watching them. I took quite a few photos even in the dim light, and then headed back to my car. As luck would have it, just as I was about to leave the sun came out!
I snagged this shot of one of the many Long-tailed Ducks that were swimming nearby. This is a male in winter colours. The Long-tailed Ducks are the only ducks with distinctly different breeding and winter plumages. They are all beautiful and very abundant this time of year.
Now (with the clouds parting and the sun shining) I considered for a moment trudging back through the deep snow to the lighthouse where I had been shooting earlier. Instead I opted for the warmth and comfort of my car, and I drove over to Prince Edward Point.
This was the first duck I saw when I arrived at the Prince Edward Point National Wildlife Area (www.birdingandmore.com/Birding_hot_spots.html). It’s a male Red-breasted Merganser.
As I drove further into the park, I spotted a Robin at the side of the road. Normally I would have just driven right by without giving it a second look but I thought to myself that a Robin is a beautiful bird, and perched in a snow-covered evergreen it would make a nice photograph. I slowed down to get the shot when suddenly I spotted this American Pipit that was standing right beside the Robin.
This was a great surprise! The little bird scurried along the edge of the roadway hunting through the bare patches of dirt and grass. It didn’t seem to mind me being there at all, so I put my car in reverse and slowly followed after it. I took a number of pictures before leaving the bird to continue with its search for food. Of course I hadn’t taken the shot of the Robin, but I’d like to think that seeing the Pipit was my reward for at least wanting to.
A short while later I spotted an immature Bald Eagle flying low along the edge of the bluff. I could see it between the treetops but only for a second at a time, and unfortunately I wasn’t able to get a picture. That was the only other bird of interest that I saw – except I did want to mention, that when I got back to Belleville I stopped at the Moira river. There, sitting on a patch of ice just north of Dundas Street was the male Hooded Merganser who seems to grace us with his presence every winter.