Thanksgiving week began with some large bird numbers in the waters south
of the Champlain Bridge and ended with the icing over of all those
waters and dispersion of the birds northward and other unknown locations.
On the 22nd Dick Harlow and I observed 6000 Scaup (clicker-counted from
photos rounded to the nearest 50) in Goose Bay and 2250 Canada Geese at
Jones Dock, both in Bridport. The Goose Bay scaup were counted again
from photos on the 25th (3350 total). From photo enlargements Ron Payne
determined the species of 427 scaup, yielding 64.3% Lessers and 35.7%
Greaters. Then on the 26th the flock was again counted from photographs,
yielding 4900 scaup. Flock counts of 6000 and 4900 exceed the previous
high counted in the south lake [3580 on October 26th 2012 in Goose Cove).
Also during that period there was a large Canada Goose flock at Jones
Dock (2250 geese clicker-counted on the 22nd). Common Mergansers and
Common Goldeneye numbered around 250 each. Species numbers of waterfowl
were fairly low.
By Thanksgiving the cold days and frigid nights led to rapid ice
formation. By Friday the 29th the lake was ice covered from Benson
Landing to Jones Dock, except for one small area at Benson Bay (in
Orwell). And ice was building rapidly toward the Champlain Bridge.
Benson Bay had become a refugium for waterfowl …. Over 800 Scaup, 570
dabblers (dominated by Mallards and Black Ducks), 80+ Common Mergansers,
and assorted gulls. Open leads in water at Jones Dock still held 1100
Canada Geese, and an uncounted flock of Scaup was tucked in Goose Bay.
Yesterday (Saturday the 30th) Ron Payne and I found full ice coverage
south of the Champlain Bridge, except for one open lead at Jones Dock
that housed 1277 Canada Geese and an assortment of other birds squeezed
out of habitats ice free only a day or two previously (full list is below).
Making seven stops yesterday from the Bridge to Kellogg Bay (Fields Bay)
at the mouth of Otter Creek in Ferrisburgh, we found the Lake ice free
except for most of Kellogg Bay. Lake birds were not at all abundant …
and were scattered about with a fair amount of general repositioning
(probably due to the rapid icing to the south) and in reaction to quite
a bit of duck hunting from shore and boats. Species diversity of
waterfowl was quite low.
Highlight was a single Double-crested Cormorant on an isolated rock
viewed from Turkey Lane in Panton. We did not discover any significant
numbers of scaup that may have moved, as they sometimes do, northward
from now iced-over Goose Cove. We'll see if they reappear in the next
few days, unless they headed south ... unlike recent years when they
followed the ice northward. Below is a list of lake birds summed from
yesterday's north-of-the-bridge stops.
As is customary, there was a Northern Mockingbird along Lake Street in
November 30th birds from Champlain Bridge to Kellogg Bay (Fields Bay):
Greater/Lesser Scaup 470
Common Goldeneye 449
Canada Goose 285
Ring-billed Gull 142
Black Duck 108
Lesser Scaup 52
Greater Scaup 50
Common Merg 31
Horned Grebe 15
Great Black-backed Gull 13
Hooded Merganser 11
Common Loon 5
Herring Gull 4
Long-tailed Duck 3
Bald Eagle 1
Great Blue Heron 1
Double-crested Cormorant 1
Belted Kingfisher 1
Jones Dock Road / Giard's Bay, Addison, US-VT
Nov 30, 2013 9:34 AM - 10:25 AM
Comments: Ron Payne, Ian Worley. Lake entirely iced over except for one
small open lead.
Snow Goose 45 14 on ice by open lead; 31 in mixed flock with Canada
Canada Goose 1277 Aerial flock of 86, 71, and 16. 1104 on ice edge of
open lead and in water. Clicker counted by individuals.
American Black Duck 12
Mallard 110 Clicker counted by individuals
Northern Pintail 1
Ring-necked Duck 1
Lesser Scaup 2
Common Goldeneye 146 Clicker counted by individuals
Hooded Merganser 5
Ring-billed Gull 6
Herring Gull 4
Black-capped Chickadee 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler 1
Northern Cardinal 2
American Goldfinch 7
View this checklist online at