Monday, 1 December 2014

Birds of the Conestogo Dam

29 November 2014

     It was a pretty grey day on Saturday, but Miriam and I decided that we would go out to see whether we could find any Snowy Owls Bubo scandiacus, since the first arrivals have already been reported in some locations.
     We did not succeed in our Snowy Owl quest, but at the Conestogo Dam there were large numbers of birds, especially Common Mergansers Mergus merganser,  Ring-billed Gulls Larus delarensis and Mallards Anas platyrynchos, with a few other appealing species thrown in for good meaure.

Common Mergansers
     It was really interesting to see the patterns formed on the water by the vees created by individual birds intersecting to create a kind of grid.

     Ring-billed Gulls, as might be expected were especially numerous.

     This is a location where it is profitable to scan for rarities such as Glaucous and Iceland Gulls, but none were to be found on this occasion.

    Here are the gulls massing with Mallards on the outflow side of the dam.

     I think that this must be my Northern Pintail Anas acuta period, for another handsome male was present among the hundreds of Mallards.

     Most of the mergansers stayed fairly far out but a few co-operative individuals came in closer to permit better photographs.

    Perhaps these three decided that single file was a better way to travel!


  1. Hello David,
    Beautiful pictures, my favorite is the last photo.
    I wish you a very good week.
    Best regards, Irma

  2. Aaah - the magnificent Pintail, again, David. What a delightful sight! However, I also love the pattern image and the last two images of the Common Merganser (which is known as the Goosander in UK).

    We too are having very dull weather at the moment, which is very frustrating as Lindsay has let me have my Christmas present early - a new lens!

    Best wishes to you both - - - Richard

  3. What a great area to bird! I'd be excited to have seen all of them gulls.

  4. Beautiful the Goosanders making the v sign. Love all of them.

  5. We used to cross the west end of Lake Conestogo on the way to my grandparents, and could always count on seeing a Great Blue Heron. But I've never stopped at the dam, but it looks worthwhile! I like that second picture.

  6. Wow.. Marvelous!!!. Great place to take pictures.. Cheers!!!..

  7. Lookin nice patterns left by the ducks on the water. Regards.

  8. I wondered if that grid pattern had some sort of territorial or safety from predators significance? Perhaps not, just an accident. Your mergansers(Goosanders) seem about as wary as our own by swimming away as soon as anyone looks in their direction.

    Lesser Redpoll is the smaller UK redpoll, Common Redpoll is a but scarce visitor here and a passage migrant from Northern Europe.

  9. The snowy owl you will unfortunately not in the picture but beautiful mergansers and other ducks plus lots of gulls. Beautiful photos David. I hope this winter to find mergansers again:-)