We enjoyed our visit to Dead Creek and were especially happy to meet Jeff Nadler. Having been a fan of his work it was fun to see the amazing equipment he uses and watch as he creates those beautiful photos. At the Dead Creek goose viewing area in the morning there were a few hundred SNOW GEESE near the fence. We were unable to identify any as Ross's. Several thousand Snows were far back toward Gage Rd. The fog was so thick that we were able to locate only a few PIED-BILLED GREBE at the Brilyea Acess area. NORTHERN HARRIERS were active in many of the fields.
We ventured next to the water plant at the end of Tri-town Rd. There we saw winter-plumaged COMMON LOON, COMMON RAVEN, MALLARD and COMMON MERGANSER. The Stone Dam area of DCWMA yielded NORTHERN HARRIER, AMERICAN PIPIT, BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE, SONG SPARROW, YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER, GREAT BLUE HERON, RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD, RING-BILLED GULL, light-phase ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK, and RING-NECKED PHEASANT - would these two birds have been released birds?
The Adam's Ferry Rd. water plant area was quiet but we did see TUFTED TITMOUSE, COMMON MERGANSER, COMMON LOON and AMERICAN BLACK DUCK.
We then went to Charlotte town beach and viewed a small flock of DUNLIN on the water's edge accompanied by some KILLDEER. On the water were RING-BILLED GULL, RED-NECKED GREBE, COMMON MERGANSER and BONAPARTE'S GULL.
On returning to the Dead Creek we found that the thousands of geese were far back from the viewing area, however we enjoyed watching MALLARD, GREEN-WINGED TEAL, a dark phase ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK, RED-TAIL HAWK, and NORTHERN HARRIER. One interesting sighting was of two immature harriers. One was devouring a meal that was sending white feathers flying everywhere and the second stood on the ground a few feet off to the side watching (drooling!). It was curious that the bird eating looked 25-30% larger than the other - much bulkier also. It was very dark brown above with no shading or lighter markings at all. The face didn't seem to show the normal facial disc of a harrier. The underside did show the cinnamon color and the rump was white. The light was going fast as it was late in the day but for many minutes we studied that bird and thought - hoped? - that we had an unusual hawk for the area. It finally flew and through the coloration in flight and the mannerism was definitely a harrier. I'm still puzzled about the size difference though. Would a well-fed female look substantially larger than a hungry male? So much to learn...
As the sun set, huge flocks of Snow Geese lifted off from the far fields and flew to the north and east, their bodies illuminated by the fading light causing them to appear brilliant against the blue sky. Quite a sight!
South Glens Falls, NY