Date: 10/31/18 12:02 pm From: Joseph C. Neal <joeneal...> Subject: SURF SCOTER AT ALMA WATEWATER
Todayís weather = mostly rain, BUT there was a predicted gap of a few hours in the morning, so David Chapman, Rose Ann Barnhill, David Oakley and I took a chance to hit a few spots in the river valley. We got the gap in rainfall. Trip = rewarding.
As we drove into Alma Wastewater Treatment Facility, around a dozen American White Pelicans were in the air. On the biggest pond: Ruddy Duck (12), Lesser Scaup (1), Ring-necked Duck (1), and a female or juvenile SURF SCOTER. On another pond, Northern Shovelers (~25) and Gadwalls (~40).
One target for the trip was Frog Bayou WMA, especially potential for good sparrows along Sharp Chapel Road. The gap in rain fall continued long enough for us to partially work sparrows along the really, really muddy road. Hundreds of Savannah Sparrows, plus some Song and Swamp Sparrows, and a truly brilliant LeConteís Sparrow, perched up for drop dead beautiful looks. We were hoping for Nelsonís, and Oakley may have seen one, but we did not get definitive looks. Habitat looks perfect.
A small hawk, swift in flight over the big fields just had to be a Merlin, but as it went by us, was Sharp-shinned. But within a few minutes, we had good if distant views of a Prairie Merlin, perched on a fencepost in the field, eating what appeared to be a blackbird. Behind it, even further, a large, dark buteo that was likely Harlanís Hawk.
Then driving back in a steady rain. A good thing, too, because it was washing the plentiful mud off Chapmanís Jeep.