November 19, 2016

A total of twenty-five birders met at the Lodge at DeGray Lake Resort State Park on Saturday, November 19th.  The morning started out very windy and quite cold, making the lake choppy and causing lots of shivering and everyone’s eyes to water.  The cold was a significant change to the earlier warm fall temperatures.  The warm weather has kept the birds from moving south, so waterfowl numbers on the lake were quite low.  We saw two rafts of ducks very far out.  The heat shimmers and white-caps made it impossible to identify what species they were.  Closer in we had several Common Loons, one lone Horned Grebe, a few American Coots, some Gadwalls, and a small raft of Scaup.  Two Common Mergansers flew in, then quickly disappeared in the chop.  An adult and juvenile Bald Eagle were working the area.  The juvenile was swooping down on the rafts of ducks, but wasn’t able to catch anything.  It was obvious he needs a lot more practice.  Woods birds included Pine Warblers, Brown-headed Nuthatches, American Goldfinches, and Golden-crowned Kinglets.  An unusual mammal sighting was a family of three beavers, two adults and a kit.  They were swimming around and around in a big circle.  The kit was hanging on to one of the adult’s tail and was being towed around.  It must have been fun because they spent a lot of time going in circles, then they swam away along the shoreline with the kit still in tow. 

After enjoying a hot lunch at the Lodge’s restaurant, the group went back to the point at the Caddo Bend picnic area to do a last scan of the lake.  Still no ducks that were close enough to identify.  The last of the birders then headed to the Iron Mountain area of the lake because Red-breasted Nuthatches had been reported there earlier in the day.  At the bridge over the river, we called in several Red-breasted Nuthatches and Brown-headed Nuthatches.  The RBNU’s were a life bird for several birders, which was a nice end to the day.  We totaled approximately 35 species.

Karen Holliday

ASCA Field Trip Coordinator