Iceland Gull, Photo by Myles Hurlburt
By Tom Schultz
WSO Field Trips Committee
After a heavy snowfall the day before, the ground was covered with a thick layer, but fortunately the day of our field trip was dry – even though it remained cloudy. The temperature was moderate, ranging from 29-32 degrees, and the wind was only 5-15 m.p.h. from the northeast.
Eurasian Collared-Doves - Photo by Tom Schultz
Our group of 26 gathered at 8a.m. at the Sheboygan Marina, and we scanned the nice variety of ducks that were there including Greater and Lesser Scaup, Redhead, Canvasback, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye, Red-breasted and Common Merganser, as well as Mallard. Also present were a couple of Horned Grebes, one of which was swimming very close to the shore, providing excellent looks. Other sightings included American Robin, Common Grackle, Red-winged Blackbird and House Finch. A couple of Eurasian Collared-Doves and Mourning Doves were spotted by some as the group was leaving the parking lot.
Glacous Gull - Photo By Steve Holzman
From there we drove a short distance up the shore to North Point, where a Harlequin Duck had been present that morning, and we found it – swimming and napping just offshore with a few Buffleheads. The rocky point had lots of gulls present, although many of them took off as our group approached the viewing pavilion. Ring-billed and Herring Gulls were joined by an adult Glaucous Gull and an adult Iceland Gull, although the former took off and flew southward. The latter bird was busy preening the entire time we were there, making it a little easier to pick out in the flock.
Pileated Woodpecker - Photo by Tom Schultz
We soon headed back to the south, stopping briefly to see the Eurasian Collared-Doves near the YMCA that many had missed earlier. From there we continued on to Indian Mounds Park. The site was initially quiet, but then a Pileated Woodpecker was spotted, busily excavating several cavities. It remained there for several minutes, giving everyone great looks. Other woodpeckers were also present, including Red-bellied, Downy and Hairy.
Also spotted were Red-breasted and White-breasted Nuthatch, a couple of Brown Creepers, Black-capped Chickadee, and eventually the target bird that everyone had been hoping for… a Great Tit!
American Goldfinch and House Finch also were present, along with a couple of Sandhill Cranes that called and flew overhead. A pair of Wood Ducks were briefly spotted, and at one point, an Eastern Screech-Owl surprised us by calling a few times!
Red-throated Loon - Photo by Jon Bartell
We learned that several Red-throated Loons were being observed in the Port Washington harbor, so we decided to make that our next stop – and sure enough, we were able to spot them soon after we arrived. There were actually nine observed, mostly swimming just outside the rocky Lake Michigan breakwater. A couple were swimming inside the harbor – with one approaching within about 150 feet at one point!
Peregrin Falcon - Photo by Jon Bartell
A Horned Grebe also was present in the harbor, along with a variety of ducks, including Red-breasted Merganser, Lesser and Greater Scaup, Common Goldeneye and Redhead, along with Canada Goose and Mallard. Our group also spotted a Peregrine Falcon perched atop the nesting box on the nearby power plant.
Thanks to everyone who attended and contributed to this fun outing, and to Jeff Baughman for co-leading.