Monday, February 7, 2011

Barrow's X Common Goldeneye hybrid on icy Stratford Point

This morning I was fortunate enough to find the flock of Common Goldeneye and its associated hybrid Barrow's Goldeneye fairly close to the Stratford Point shore. Scott found this fascinating bird, as well as an adult male Barrow's Goldeneye, last Friday. He described these birds and his discovery in a previous blog post but was not able to get better pictures at the time. Hopefully these images will supplement his excellent description.

Note the different head shape and color, presence of an incomplete "spur" and the white markings high up on the back. The bird was still present late this afternoon (2/7) and may remain visible for those interested in seeing it in person.

On the day that Scott found these unusual ducks, I took a few scenic pictures of a completely ice-encrusted Stratford Point. Everything down to the smallest blade of grass was covered in about half an inch of ice, making it extremely treacherous to walk around there. However, the surreal scenery made it worth the effort.

The only way to walk safely was by stomping through the ice cover.

Every blade of grass was covered in ice

In some places ice-covered branches and twigs had separated from their cold encasings due to the strong wind

The lighthouse and surrounding chain link fence turned to ice sculptures

Pretty as it looks, I have to admit that I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Stratford Point today after a few balmy days had exposed some of the grass in places. Signs of spring are becoming increasingly obvious!

All photos copyright Twan Leenders

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