Week Ending December 7, 2014

My apologies for the lateness of this blog, and also for the shortness! This past week, we had a Nor'easter scrape the coastline, providing us with tons of rain & wind and all around dreary weather. I did not get the opportunity to get out at all Monday through Friday, and Saturday was pretty miserable conditions. I decided to go down to Kings Grant Lake since the waterfowl have showed up in the area now. I drove over about 1 in the afternoon to Kings Grant Lake Park off Kings Grant Road to start. From the small park, plenty of waterfowl were visible out over the water, in order of their abundance: Mallards, Canada Geese, Domestic Geese, Ring-necked Ducks, American Wigeons, and Hooded Mergansers. In addition to the waterfowl there were also large numbers of Double-crested Cormorants and Ring-billed Gulls. Not seeing anything out of the ordinary, I took some photographs and then headed over to the next viewing spot along Edinburgh Drive. Here, there was a Great Egret and Great Blue Heron right up near the roadway that gave good chances for photographs. Also, out on the southern pond a group of Double-crested Cormorants were trying to dry their wings off while standing in a row on a log. Surprisingly, the log also had a number of Yellow-bellied Sliders (turtles) on it, which is pretty late in the year to be seeing.

One of the many Double-crested Cormorants out on the waters of Kings Grant Lake on Saturday!

A mixed group of Northern Shovelers & Gadwalls was also on the surface, but I didn't find any Wood Ducks here where they're commonly sighted. Off to the next stop, I went down Edinburgh to Smiths Lane and up to Watergate Lane. Along Watergate Lane is where the lakes flow out through a series of culverts under the road and spill into a tidal finger of the Lynnhaven estuary. I stopped here just to see if I might find a Clapper Rail or something interesting off to the north side in the tidal marsh. No rails showed up, but I did see both Great Egret & Great Blue Heron again, and got caught up in a mixed feeding flock of songbirds. Most of them were Ruby & Golden-crowned Kinglets, with a few Tufted Titmice also strewn in. A lone Red-bellied Woodpecker was pounding away on a tree in plain sight as well, so this spot turned out to be a great one to add some birds outside the spectrum of 'just waterfowl'. After sighting 20+ species in just a half hour or so I headed back home for the afternoon and edited the photographs. On Sunday, weather conditions were the same, very dreary, in the morning and I opted to not go out until I went to watch football games up in Hampton in the afternoon. When I finished that up around 5 PM, it had gotten miraculously nice out, just in time for the weekend to end unfortunately. Hopefully that's a good sign for the coming week, because a half hour of cloudy birding makes it tough on me!

To view the full gallery of photographs I took during this week, please click HERE!