Date: 12/28/17 12:17 pm From: Terry Bronson <tbronsonbirds...> Subject: Cheat Lake freezing; Common Goldeneyes arriving on Mon River in Morgantown area
This morning the entire south end of Cheat Lake (both sides of the I-68 bridge and Sunset Harbor Marina) was nearly 100% frozen. At Cheat Lake Park, the backwaters were frozen, but the lake itself was almost all open water, though it was tough to tell due to the amount of steam rising from the lake. There was some ice beginning to form along the shores. With temperatures in Morgantown forecast not to rise above freezing until Jan. 6, I expect the lake will be completely frozen by the first of the year, and duck season will be at an end.
Consequently, pickings were slim:
Cheat Lake Park:
Bufflehead--6 Pied-billed Grebe--1
Sunset Harbor Marina, all birds roosting on ice at end of piers:
Canada Goose--15 American Black Duck--4 Mallard--35
North of I-68 bridge: nothing
South of I-68 bridge:
Canada Goose--75 roosting on ice and in small patch of open water at inflow of stream across lake from Whip-poor-will Bar.
I then went to the Monongahela River, which was unfrozen, though there was the beginning of ice along the shore in a few places, and some floating ice chunks.
Normally the river hosts increased numbers of birds once Cheat Lake freezes and the birds are forced to move elsewhere. In addition, new birds arrive from the north once lakes and rivers freeze in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Canada. That process seems to be beginning. Most notable were the 7 Common Goldeneyes; only a handful of single birds have been reported to eBird this fall and winter in WV. From south to north:
Uffington boat launch area:
Canada Goose--94 Mallard--14 Common Goldeneye--2 females Hooded Merganser--8 Common Merganser--2
Morgantown Lock and Dam to Cobun Creek:
Mallard--2 Common Goldeneye--3 females Hooded Merganser--2 Pied-billed Grebe--2