Date: 1/25/18 3:41 am From: Joseph C. Neal <joeneal...> Subject: Goldeneyes on Beaver Lake
With bright sunshine, calm winds, and temps to the low 50s, yesterday was good as it gets for January birding. I managed a big loop around Beaver Lake. The 188 Common Goldeneyes was a personal Beaver Lake high for me, including 118 in a raft near the dam. Horned Grebes (130) were almost all at Glade below Lost Bridge.
Goldeneyes nest in northern forests, often at lakes with abundant aquatic invertebrates and no fish. Their winter diet (so presumably what’s going on at Beaver Lake) apparently includes aquatic invertebrates like insects, mollusks, and crustaceans, and maybe small fish. Yesterday’s goldeneyes at Beaver dam were closely followed by Bonaparte’s (~200) and Ring-billed Gulls (~60). It was comfortable enough to sit outside the car and watch as goldeneyes dived, and gulls plunged and picked in the immediate area of these dives. I assume goldeneyes were finding the food, stirring it up with their dives, then making it available to the gulls. It was a wild, noisy, chaotic scene when many goldeneyes were diving and gulls were trying to grab whatever popped to the surface.
As usual at mid-winter, not many loons. I saw single Common Loons at Rocky Branch and Prairie Creek.