This morning Ian Worley and I went to DAR State park to see if we could relocate the Common Pochard. A large flock of approximately 3600 waterfowl, mostly made of of Goldeneye, Scaup, Common Mergansers and Mallards were visible from the from the lakefront of the park. The ice line is now not far south of the park's bay, however there is open water around the point to the sough allowing a good portion of the flock to be out of site. And unfortunately, that section is where the large body of the Scaup were most often concentrated. At one point a large sheet of ice on the edge broke off ahd floated north herding the flock closer into view giving us our best opportunity to search for the Pochard, but despite the best efforts of a dozen or so birders, it was not found by noon time. If the ice continues to progress north, which I suspect it should do more slowly due to the warmer temperatures, DAR will likely remain the best place to search that flock for the next few days.
Other species in the flock included Ring-necked Duck, Bufflehead, White-winged Scoter, Red-breasted Merganser and Gadwall. There were also as many as six Bald Eagles of varying ages pirating fish and causing other disturbances in the area.
I'd like to give a big thanks to Maria Mayer and the State Park workers who arranged for open gates and clear parking spots which were put to good use by many people today.
Being the cagy old Pochard vetrans we are, Ian and I decided that this kind of search had become old-hat, so we headed north along the lake to see what else we could find. In the Tri-town/Potash bay area we found three American Wigeon, and what we presume is the same Glacous Gull seen previously at the Champlain Bridge, oddly being kept company by a lone Snow Goose. From a private residence further north we spotted in the distance what initially thought might be a horned Grebe bobbing on the waves, but when it changed its postion it revealed itself to be a goose from the Canada complex. because of our original thoughts of the bird being a Grebe, we had the sense that it was very small, but with nothing near by to judge it against we were having a hard time convincing ourselves that it actually was. While we were debating whether or not we could judge the size of the bird based on our previous experience with the size of the waves we were seeing, our problem was solved when an actual Horned Grebe appeard next to the Goose. With the Grebe for scale, we were able to see clearly that this was in fact a very tiny goose, and without question a Cackling Goose.