Saturday, December 22, 2012

Saturday, December 15, 2012 Flaming Geyser

Miserable day today, wet and cold, and I don't feel very well. Nice way to spend your day off from work. We had bought a new point and shoot camera that arrived on Friday and we wanted to try it out so I pulled myself together and we took a short trip down to Flaming Geyser State Park to try out  the camera. The weather was so bad we knew there wouldn't be much activity but it's usually good for a few ducks on the ponds. There were a few people down there, a number of kayakers on the river and a few fishermen. Other than that we only saw some park rangers. Not much of a day for a picnic. We pulled up to our regular spot by the pond and I spotted what I thought was a bufflehead but Rudy got his binocs on it and it was a male hooded merganser. He scooted away quickly when he spotted us so I didn't get a good look at him but we had seen a female with babies there earlier in the year so this must be a home for them. We walked over to the elevated trail that travels between two ponds and noticed some mallards lazily floating around in the falling rain. Rudy spotted something else further away. It was a very nondescript bird but as soon as I got my binocs on it I was sure it was an American dipper (#175). The antics of those birds are very hard to miss. They love, love, love the water and this bird was having the time of his life. As if he wouldn't have been getting wet enough in the pouring rain, he was flipping up the water over his back with his wings and then playing around like a kid in a puddle. We got closer and got a much better view to verify our sighting. Rudy tried to take a picture with our new camera but he couldn't get it to focus on the bird. We just have some blurred views. It was raining even harder and only 37 degrees so we called it quits. Driving out of the park we stopped at another spot where we could see the pond from the road. There were some mallards and then we saw 3 more hooded mergansers. They looked young, just the brown color like a female. These may have been the babies we had seen earlier in the year. We tried the camera out again but had the same problem. So, we have some work to do on learning the camera but we did add one more to our list. I had so wanted to see an American dipper this year and so happy it happened.

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