20 November 2014
Given the truly unbelievable proportions of the snowfall on Buffalo, NY over the past few days, we escaped relatively lightly. We don't share the lake effect which gives them so much precipitation, but geographically we are not far away.
It is still a full month until the winter solstice, but recent temperatures in our area have dipped to minus 12 Celcius and snowfall has been significant. Most small ponds are now completely frozen over and even larger areas of still water have significant ice cover.
This was the situation at Cunningham Pond this morning. I would estimate that 90% of the surface water was frozen.
Canada Geese Branta canadensis and Mallards Anas platyrynchos occupied the open water, with large numbers compressed into a small area.
I scanned the flocks carefully and was rewarded when I caught the merest glimpse of a Northern Pintail Anas acuta behind a Canada Goose.
Most of the birds were resting, with relatively little movement, so I waited patiently until a the inevitable squabbling started to occur and the birds shifted position. I got a better look.
After a few more minutes several of the Canada Geese started to flap their wings and immerse themselves in the water and I was rewarded with a clear line on this male Northern Pintail, a bird which I have had very little success photographing in the past.
I was happy that I had decided to wait it out.
As might be expected many gulls were present also, including several American Herring Gulls Larus smithsonianus, recently arrived in this area.
Ring-billed Gulls Larus delawarensis seemed to be pretty content to simply snooze on the ice.