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Clear Lake and environs

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  • vishnu
    On Sunday 2/5 Geoff Heineken, Cheryl Watson and Vishnu circumnavigated Clear Lake and visited many of the sites (some for the first time) that have been
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 5, 2006
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      On Sunday 2/5 Geoff Heineken, Cheryl Watson and Vishnu
      circumnavigated Clear Lake and visited many of the sites (some for
      the first time) that have been recently mentioned on this Mendobirds
      forum. From Ukiah and proceeding east on Hwy 20 we first found
      hundreds of Common Mergansers in the easternmost Blue Lake and a few
      miles further to the east in a flooded field just adjacent to the
      Half Diamond Ranch about 20 Canvasbacks. Proceeding further we found
      the flooded fields/ponds along the Nice/Lucerne Cutoff Rd to the
      north of Rodman Slough and there among a large number of Gadwalls,
      American Widgeon and Green-winged Teal we saw 3 Eurasian Widgeon.
      Continuing east on Hwy 20 we made several impromptu stops along the
      lakeshore for the common but multitudinous numbers of Western Grebes,
      Gulls and Great & Snowy Egrets. I haven't yet mentioned that the
      light was PERFECT all day and every bird that was seen appeared
      bright and splendid. Entering Clearlake Oaks (to the right) there is
      a boat launch picnic area with tables on a berm projecting into the
      lake. We had lunch there, easily observing up close many Clark's
      Grebes and Cheryl identified Ring-billed, California, Thayer's and
      Herring Gulls that, along with the Grebes, covered the water as far
      as one could see. These were not unusual birds but the sheer number
      of them as well as the brilliance of the light made it seem like we
      were at Morro Bay or some exotic birding locale. From there we drove
      to Borax Lake and found among the thousands of Scaup 1 Tufted Duck.
      Although the raft it was in was large it was not nearly so large as
      the immense raft further to the southeast. The bird we saw had a
      small but quite distinct tuft which, as it was preening a great deal,
      was shaken about and almost continually visible. In our opinion this
      duck had the typical black back and head of a Tufted Duck. No color
      variation as might be seen in a hybrid was observed by us (although
      it was quite apparent in the nearby Scaup).
      We searched in vain at Clearlake County Park for a Phainopepla but
      found only Western Bluebirds eating the white mistletoe berries.
      Species count for the day was 74 birds.
      Thanks to Floyd Hayes, Kathy Robertson and George Chaniot for the
      valuable Lake County birding information and directions posted on
      this forum.

      Vishnu



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