Trumpeter Swan – one of a trio of new species seen today. (These swans have been variously reported as Tundra and Trumpeter – I think the latter, but happy to be corrected if anyone would care to comment).
Our day pretty much followed the same format as yesterday, with the morning spent looking for woodpeckers and the afternoon exploring another local wetland. Early morning temperatures on the lower slopes of the Three Sisters were a little over freezing, with a cold wind and the occasional flurry of icy rain. We spent several hours standing around the ‘new burn’ areas of the forest, along the NFD Road 1018 – habitat of choice for two of the most difficult species of woodpecker – American Three-toed and Black-backed. We’d practically given up and decided to go and look for other species around Trout Creek Marsh, when half way along the trail, in a ‘new burn’ area, we came across a Black-backed Woodpecker. Brief but good views – alas no time to lift my camera before it was gone, was justifiable reward for our efforts over the past 24 hours and brought up my twentieth woodpecker species (flicker & sapsucker included) for America. We intended to take it easy this afternoon with a gentle stroll around a nearby waste-water reclamation scheme – Hatfield Lakes. Either we misinterpreted the scale of the map or it was wrong, but we ended up doing a two hour / five mile yomp! Although the birds of the adjacent brush were fewer and further between than we’d expected, the lakes themselves did deliver, with eleven species of duck and a trip tick & USA tick into the bargain – Trumpeter Swan. I’d just finished photographing a male Bufflehead when I flushed a large ‘game-bird’ from bushes by the shoreline. As it flew away I could clearly see that it was a Ruffed Grouse – my 500th species seen in America.
I’d just finished photographing this Bufflehead at Hatfield Lakes when I practically stood on a Ruffed Grouse – my 500th species seen in America