18 January 2013

Carter Lake Continues as Waterfowl Wonderland

Carter Lake continues to be a preeminent space in the Missouri River valley to observe and enjoy a variety of waterfowl during this time of the winter season.

The species and the number present have continued to be noted by area birders.

On Sunday, when a terse and seemingly mixed up story was published in the local newspaper (which should have been separated into two stores), with some fine photographs.

There was a new addition to the season's tally during an afternoon visit by area birders. A Ross's Goose was observed. It has been many years since this species were recorded at this locale. The three Trumpeter Swan's had returned, and were also caught in a picture taken on Monday. A few Greater White-fronted Goose were still about, having also been seen on the 9th.

It felt like an afternoon of early spring on the 17th. There was the west area of open water, as well another expanse west of the boat dock on the north side of the park. Lots of birds were present at both spots.

Most notably different was the sound of a Belted Kingfisher at the lake's edge, otherwise known as Levi Carter Park.

A nice flock of Harris's Sparrows were present on the west side of the lake, lingering with some Dark-eyed Juncos.

Overall, though, there was a mighty preponderance of Canada Goose, numbering in the thousands, and always vocal. Amidst the honkers, were the always appreciated Canvasback, Redhead and a notable number of Ring-necked Duck. One of the latter was displaying breeding season behavior to a nearby female, and there was a greater number than previously recorded.

There were fewer Mallards, Northern Shoveler and American Coot. No Bald Eagles were observed.

Also not seen was a Red Fox, which languished in the afternoon sun on the beach, as easily seen on the 9th.

Thus far this month, at least 35 species have been noted for their occurrence at the lake and park. The number of ducks and geese continues to be impressive, and the extent of the waterfowl use-days certainly surpasses any similar value for any other locale along the Missouri River in Nebraska.

Trumpeter Swans at Carter Lake, January 14, 2013. Picture courtesy of Brad Richardson.