Date: 10/28/17 11:57 am From: Terry Bronson <tbronsonbirds...> Subject: Brant, Pine Siskins, Harrier, Pintails, Hooded Mergansers in Preston County
I went to Alpine Lake in eastern Preston County this morning in search of waterfowl. Shortly after I arrived, I was joined by David Daniels. The day started off with a bang.
BRANT--1 odd-looking duck flew in, circled over the lake, and landed out in the middle. It looked strange to me and as it came down to land, I jokingly said it might be a Brant. And it was! We both got good scope views, exchanged non-G-rated comments, and high-fived. It was David's first WV Brant; I had seen them before almost exactly 5 years ago at the Cheat Lake fallout following Superstorm Sandy. The bird was the expected pale-bellied subspecies normally found in eastern North America. David did get a couple of hopefully diagnostic photos to post on his eBird posting. Unfortunately, it only stayed 5 minutes before taking off, circling around and heading NORTH. I checked various lakes on my way home, but could not re-locate it. It might even have gone to nearby Deep Creek Lake in Maryland.
Also at Alpine Lake:
Canada Goose--14 Mallard--11 Ring-necked Duck--10 Ruddy Duck--16 Pied-billed Grebe--14 American Coot--3 PINE SISKIN--45. A flock of 15 was feeding in the trees at the playground area next to the boathouse. As we watched, 30 more flew in to join them. Several had very noticeable yellow wing patches.
At Terra Alta Lake, we went our separate ways after noting the following:
Along Oak Grove Road near Oak Grove Circle, David saw a NORTHERN HARRIER on his way to Alpine Lake. I checked on my way home but could not find it. Maybe the 135 American Crows present encouraged it to move on.
At Teets Pond along Route 26 in the far northeastern corner of the county:
Canada Goose--285. Not an unusual number for this location in fall.
At nearby Appalachian Lake:
Canada Goose--2 Gadwall--4 American Black Duck--2 Mallard--25 NORTHERN PINTAIL--2 Pied-billed Grebe--1
Note: I recently read that the dam at privately-owned Appalachian Lake is deteriorating and needs major repairs. The owner does not want to pay for that, instead preferring to destroy the dam over a period of time and allow the stream that formed the lake to return to its previous state. So this may be the last winter this lake exists.
At Lake o'Woods:
Canada Goose--25 American Black Duck--3 Mallard--12 HOODED MERGANSER--2 American Coot--1 Eastern Phoebe--1
I checked Cheat Lake Park on the way home, but found nothing in a quick scan from the car. Then the rains began, so I gave up and headed home. Nothing visible from the I-68 bridge, but the birds are normally quite a ways away and not visible to the naked eye, so there could have been some way out there.