Lake viewing in southern Lake Champlain was challenging yesterday. Dense
inversion fog hid the lake till midday. Ron Payne and I had to go all
the way north to Porter Bay at Fort Cassin to escape the fog. By the
time we got back mid-afternoon south to the ice margin at DAR state park
(north of the Champlain Bridge) viewing was hampered by the backlighting
We made ten lake stops in total. Without question the highlight of the
day was a gathering of five Iceland Gulls on a drifting ice sheet in
Button Bay, among a total of nearly 300 gulls. Digiscoped photos are at:
For the most part the Iceland Gulls were asleep. However, one did get
up, staggered around on the slippery ice (a trait we noticed a previous
day), and gave us very good looks.
At the ice margin, which extends from DAR state park north less than a
mile to Owl's Head Bay, there were amassed some 5000 waterfowl, many in
a large, teeming mass of mixed species actively feeding. Common
Goldeneye were by far the most abundant; others were both Scaup Species,
Common Mergansers, Mallards and Black Ducks. We could only locate two
(!) other species --- Long-tailed Duck (1), Red-breasted Merganser (1).
Gulls numbered over 700.
Gadwall (3) Porter Bay
Bald Eagle (5) Porter Bay
Glaucous Gull (1) Kellogg Bay
Common Loon (3) Arnold Bay
Red-tailed Hawk (23) for the day
Rough-legged Hawk (3) for the day
Sparrows (0) for the day .... unless you want to count the six Juncos seen.
At my house on the southern end of Snake Mountain (Cornwall) there were
two Great Horned Owls hooting in the pre-dawn hours, and a Northern
Saw-whet Owl gave two brief wail calls just after dark from a hemlock in
the front yard. All three birds have been actively calling during the
last few nights.