A few days ago, when I was talking to the preserve manager Fred Gender, I complained that I have not seen very much in the way of waterfowl either in Brandywine or overhead. I had hoped to at least add a few species of ducks to my preserve list as migratory flyovers. I did add Cackling Goose and Green-winged Teal to the list, but that is it. I carefully check the Brandywine in both directions for mergansers or other ducks and check the skies overhead but almost always come up empty in terms of waterfowl.
Today when I started my walk, I looked downstream and saw nothing, then looked up stream and saw nothing. Then I stood and listened for what might be calling. Then I looked downstream again. This time I saw something swimming in the water just before the rapids. Finally! Common Mergansers, five of them, 4 males and a female, a new bird for my preserve list! I then turned and walked a short way to get a better view of the field to the north were several hundred Canada Geese were gathered.
As I was standing there Smaller groups of geese were flying in, mostly from the south. One group of five geese had two individuals that were notably smaller with short necks, making them Cackling Geese! Then two groups of about twenty Mallards flew past. The second group had a very dark bird amongst them. I got a pretty good look at it and could see that it had no white in the wings making it a Black Duck! Also a new bird for my preserve list!
I’m at the point now where new birds are becoming few and far between. To get two in one day just moments apart is pretty cool. I’m going with Black Duck as my bird of the day because it was totally unexpected. Later in my walk I near the south end of the preserve, I had a flock of 33 Snow Geese fly over, rounding out my waterfowl species count at 6. My previous high was four; Canada Goose, Snow Goose, Cackling Goose and Green-winged Teal on 25 October 2012.
Stat time: 8:50
End time: 11:30
Skies: high overcast clouds clearing to partly cloudy
Species Total: 36
- Great Blue Heron – 1
- Black Vulture – 1, where did the vultures go? I picked up both species in the last 10 minutes of my walk!
- Turkey Vulture – 2
- Snow Goose – 33, Always a nice sight to see.
- Canada Goose – approximately 700
- Cackling Goose – 2
- American Black Duck – 1, Bird of the Day!
- Mallard – approximately 75
- Common Merganser – 8, 5 at the beginning of my walk and three more over head as I finished up my walk.
- Cooper's Hawk – 1 immature
- Red-tailed Hawk – 6, 4 adults and 2 immatures
- Mourning Dove – approximately 100
- Belted Kingfisher – 1
- Red-bellied Woodpecker – approximately 10
- Downy Woodpecker – approximately 10
- Hairy Woodpecker – 2
- Northern Flicker – 1, heard only
- Blue Jay – approximately 20
- American Crow – approximately 400
- Carolina Chickadee – approximately 25
- Tufted Titmouse – approximately 20
- Red-breasted Nuthatch – 1
- White-breasted Nuthatch – 5
- Brown Creeper – 1
- Carolina Wren – approximately 12
- Winter Wren – 2, first time that I’ve seen two together in one spot.
- Golden-crowned Kinglet – approximately 10
- Eastern Bluebird – 2, lowest count in quite a while.
- American Robin – 10
- Northern Mockingbird – 2
- European Starling – approximately 100
- Song Sparrow – approximately 50
- White-throated Sparrow – approximately 100
- Dark-eyed Junco – approximately 12
- Northern Cardinal – approximately 15
- American Goldfinch – 3