Ducks steal the show during the mid-winter eagle survey
January 10 was my designated day to perform my part of the New York State Mid-winter Eagle Survey. The target day for New York has usually coincided with the “fly day” (or days), when the aerial portion of the survey was flown. Even though the aerial part of the survey hasn’t been flown in a couple of years, it’s good to hit the same date and time, as the data is being used for longterm count trends. Before I started with my designated route, I left early and went up to the Mongaup Falls eagle blind and saw a couple of mergansers, but no eagles. I then took a ride down Plank Road to just before the bridge ruins on Rio Reservoir and spotted one immature eagle on the ice, a yearling. I took a ride north and parked along the stream and waited and looked for perched and flying eagles, but there were none to be seen. There were, however, lots of waterfowl seen and heard, and while I waited for the elusive eagles, I was entertained by half a dozen species of waterfowl. See the images with this column for a small sample of an hour or so of observing. And by the way, my final eagle count for the day was three.