Day 20 – one duck wonders

A female Red-breasted Merganser – the only duck on Plum Orchard Lake (barring the local Mallard and her chicks)

Yesterday, for the fifth time on this trip, we’ve turned up at a large water-body to basically find just one duck! On this occasion it was Plum Orchard Lake WMA and Red-breasted Merganser, a female – no other ducks present. Previous encounters have involved White-winged Scoter, Ruddy Duck, Bufflehead and Lesser Scaup. These ducks have all been out of breeding range – their northward migration paused by something. All birds appeared to be healthy and happy. Other highlights of the day, and there were many, included a couple more vireos and an exceptional warbler. We’d begun the day at Little Beaver State Park with another nature trail around a pond – we’ll actually large reservoir. Here we saw a few more migrants and several lovely Blue-headed Vireo. Also of note were a Cliff Swallow and a secretive Wood Duck, on the approach to the park. Coffee break (without the coffee!) was taken beside the highly productive Paint Creek where, from the observation deck over the river we saw Eastern Wood Pewee, Louisiana Waterthrush, Hooded Warbler and our first Black-capped Chickadee – their range extends south down the finger of the Appalachian Mountains. Our final stop was at Plum Orchard Lake and what a hot-spot that turned out to be. Three vireo species virtually side by side – Red-eyed, Blue-headed and Yellow-throated, a stunning Wood Thrush and a must-get warbler Cerulean – we had a couple at the picnic site where we had lunch. They were tricky birds – mostly remaining high up in the leafy tree canopy – but we did eventually get reasonable views. Today we continue north towards Ohio and our rendezvous with Neil & Nicola and Phil & Carolyn for the gathering of Biggest Week in American Birding festival at Black Swamp Bird Observatory. A bucket-list event for many birders.

Coming a close winner for smartest bird this Blue-headed Vireo – with it’s white ‘spectacles’ – took the prize
Whilst ‘bird of the day’ has to go to Cerulean Warbler – a US tick for me. Record shot only I’m afraid
This entry was posted in Birding.

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