Thanks for your interesting and detailed observations. I always enjoy your accounts of what you see and what those things might indicate in the big scheme of things. I once visited the same WMA (Carter Lake in Washington county, NY) once a week for a year. I have no records since it was prior my becoming a bird lister, but I learned so much during that year of visits in watching the change of the seasons. I saw the birds and ducks arrive, raise their young, and move on; I enjoyed the wildflowers and the shrubs as they blossomed and fruited. Even the change in the angle of the sun and the sound of the wind at different times of year become more apparent when you spend a significant amount of time observing one place. It is a great way to hone your skills. Thanks for the reminder, Roy.
South Glens Falls, NY
----- Original Message -----
From: Roy Pilcher
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Wednesday, November 06, 2002 7:48 PM
Subject: Lake Bomoseen, Hubbardton, State IBA
Observations, Tuesday, November 5, 2002
Canada goose (58), mallard (31), American black duck (33), ring-necked duck
(~165), hooded merganser (48), ring-billed gull (2), shorebird species (2).
As an isolated list out of context, these observations warrant not much more
than the delete key! However, when viewed as an element in a continuum of
monthly data over a period of five years, the raw numbers take on an added
significance and interest. Consider the Canada goose observation for a
starter, there is a consistency in occurrence here that the raw number does
not expose, since their absence is noted only four times during the five year
observation period. The black duck/mallard totals range as high as 79 on
11/3/2000 to consistent lows each May, 4 on 5/1/1998, 9 on 5/1/2001 and 6 on
5/3/2002, while in each case the earlier, March and/or April number is
higher. What is at work here? Are these wetlands thawing earlier and thus
providing a food base before surrounding areas can be exploited? Then there
are the ring-necked ducks whose numbers generally peak in April and then
again in November, 62 on 11/21/98, 127 on 4/15/2000, 22 on 4/19/2001, 164 on
4/4/2002 and 165 on 11/5/2002. For the other eight of or nine months they
are absent, classic migrants using these wetlands as a stopover whether going
north or south. Finally the hooded mergansers which seem to peak also during
November, 63 on 11/21/1998, 22 on 11/11/1999, 29 on 11/3/2000 and 22 on
12/3/2001 (the exception) and 48 on 11/5/2002. Except for a few sightings in
early spring they are unreported and apparently not present.
To be sure all of this may add little to our collective knowledge and
understanding but I would suggest that if one has the opportunity to take a
particular area, it could be your own backyard, a favorite walk, a pond,
whatever, and visit and monitor the bird activity there consistently over a
period of time, then you will be rewarded with an added appreciation of the
rhythms of the seasons and the manner in which the birds both exploit them,
and at the same time, are governed by them.
Speaking the Same Language.