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Saturday, February 24, 2007

Common Goldeneye X Hooded Merganser

Today, 24 Feb, Sean Fitzgerald and I birded the Lake Michigan lakeshore from Muskegon to South Haven, stopping in Grand Haven for another unsuccessful bid to get Sean his lifer King Eider.

Had some nice birds along the way, but no rarities. Most notably, at Port Sheldon, we came upon a bird I have never seen before, a hybrid male Common Goldeneye X Hooded Merganser! What a beautiful and odd beast.Even the bill is intermediate between the two parents!

Here are the other highlights from our trip:
Iceland Gull- 1 1st/2nd winter at Grand Haven
Lapland Longspur- 6 with 130 Horned Larks at 62nd Ave, .75 mi N of 118th Ave, Allegan SGA
Lesser Black-backed Gull- 1 at South Haven (see photos below)
Tundra Swan- 6 at Pigeon Lake, Port SheldonRed-throated Loon- 1 at South Haven
Snow Goose- 1 at Allegan SGA, from 59th and 117th looking SW.
Eastern Bluebird- 6 at 118th Ave, Allegan SGA, w. of Todd Farm
Horned Grebe- 6 at various locations.
Double-crested Cormorant- 1 at Dunton Park, Holland
Canvasback- 13 at Pigeon Lake, Port Sheldon
Mute Swan- 113 at Pigeon Lake, Port Sheldon
Red-breasted Merganser- 350+ at South Haven
Long-tailed Duck- 10,000+ offshore at Grand Haven
Common Goldeneye- 1609 (day total)
Common Merganser- 1550 (day total)
Gadwall- 5 at Pigeon Lake, Port Sheldon
American Tree Sparrow- 285 at 59th and 117th, Allegan SGA

As you can see, we counted thousands of ducks along the way, dominated inshore by scaup, Common Goldeneye, Redhead, Common Merganser, and Bufflehead, but offshore by huge clouds of Long-tailed Ducks, mostly at Grand Haven. We had a 1st winter/2nd winter Iceland Gull at Grand Haven, and a 2nd winter Lesser Black-backed Gull at South Haven, a plumage I've not seen before. Here are three shots of it. Enjoy.

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