Nine participants (John & Kay, Cabbie Don & Rochelle, Hoarse Hans, Trini Eleanor, Photog Terry and First-timers Neville and Jean D’Amato) joined me at Iona Park and Sewage Lagoons this morning. Weather was mild and tide was in. A couple of Red-tailed Hawks, Northern Harriers and a flock of Green-winged Teal caught our attention along the Airport road as we approached the entrance to Iona. Fortunately Locksmith John was able to get us into the Sewage Lagoons using the new combo. Some of the ponds were partly frozen, but lots of ducks, but no Shorebirds, were in the open bits, including: Northern Pintail, Northern Shovellers, Gadwall, American Wigeon, Mallards, Lesser Scaup, Green-winged Teal. Huge flocks of Red-wing Blackbirds and European Starlings were foraging along the paths between the ponds, along with the occasional Song and Fox Sparrows. Lots of Great Blue Herons and Bald Eagles around, but we were blanked on other raptors this morning. A flock of Dunlin (~50) flew by.
Entering Iona through the back gate, the ponds there had some gorgeous ducks in breeding plumage, including, and in addition to those mentioned above: several Ring-necked Ducks, Common Mergansers and Bufflehead. Not many species of small birds identified in the bushes other than Spotted Towhees and House Finches. Several (4+) Northern Flickers surrounded us. After the Rookies left us, we wandered over to the start of the breakwall where two Trumpeter Swans and a large flock of Snow Geese, including many first-year birds, were foraging very close to shore. Finally, some good close-up photo ops for Rochelle and Terry, as well as our new friends Taiwan Richard and Michelle Lamberson. Out a little further were rafts of Canvasbacks (first sighting for DNCBer’s this year) and Greater Scaup. We were also pleasantly surprised by two separate uncommon sightings; a Killdeer posing on the grass right in front of us and a Northern Shrike on a bush across the road. On the drive leaving Iona in a ditch near Airport Road was a neat male Hooded Merganser. Some of Terry and Rochelle’s photos of today’s sightings are attached for your enjoyment.