Monday, February 6, 2012

Winter afternoon with the ducks

Ducks just off the east point of Union Bay

Saturday I noticed a post in one of the local neighborhood blogs concerning the sightings of a rare Tudu Eurasian tufted duck in the water near the wetlands by the Urban Horticultural Center at Union Bay. The duck was seen on Friday and then again on Saturday when the notice appeared in the Wedgewood blog. For a picture of the Tudu, please see

I texted Mrs. Gimlet since we had about an hour before sunset and Union Bay is close. We decided to go. The duck was supposed to be swimming off the east point of the Montlake fill (Union Bay) so it would be easy to park at the Urban Horticultural Center and walk a little way to the lake. The blog said all we would have to do once there was to find the group of birders and blend in. We tried. There were a few people clustered along the shoreline with binoculars, tripods and cameras but the duck was either gone for the day or out so far in the lake we couldn’t get a look at him. We had neglected to bring binoculars (silly us) and even Mrs. G’s fancy telephoto lens was not quite big enough to zoom in on the “barge” of ducks out in the lake. I'm not sure "barge" is the correct term but that is what it looked like. It was a pretty good test for my new little digital camera. Sadly it does not have the zoom lens capacity that my big, heavy old EOS Canon film camera does but it does take good photos. I did over hear someone mention that the duck had been away from the main group but even so it would have been very difficult to pick him out.

To make matters worse a clueless Kayaker paddled by sending the ducks and coots quacking, hooting and flying then resettling even further out in the bay. We stayed until the sun started setting and then left intending to come back with binoculars in the next day or two if the weather held. But today is Monday and we haven’t gone back yet.

In addition to the normal group of Mallards and coots there were Widgeons, Golden eyes, Mergansers, and a few geese. The sign at the beginning of the trail said a swan had been sighted earlier. We will walk down there again even if there is no hope of seeing the elusive Tudu since it is quite a pretty place and a very nice walk on a sunny day.

“Barge” of ducks and coots moving further out into the bay.

The Mountain is out!

Part of the wetlands trail

We heard lots of Red-wing blackbirds but didn’t see any. There were crows but we didn’t see many of those either just the few in the sky of this picture. Right around sunset the crows often fly to a common roosting area. It is quite the experience to see them, hundreds it seems, flying together and making such a racket.

Robin taking a rest on the porch

I had to come home to see a bird close up enough to get a picture with my new camera. Just a robin but made me feel that winter may be turning a corner toward Spring.

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