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birds : holiday visit to Lake Artemesia

After a completely gray and rainy Sunday, we took advantage of the beautiful clear weather to walk around Lake Artemesia. I can’t remember the last time I was up there; they’ve completely repaved and widened the path around the lake, and have removed at least one tree the roots of which were growing up through the pavement. Since so many people have the day off for Martin Luther King Day, the parking lot was full and the paths were busy with families, kids and adults walking dogs or on bikes.

The lake was partially frozen, so the usual winter residents were a bit crowded into only two areas of open water. We saw huge numbers of Canada Geese, a couple of pairs of Mallards, a decent flock of Ring-necked Ducks, a dozen or so Ruddy Ducks, about that many American Coots, and loads of Ring-billed Gulls on the lake, both in the water and on the ice. The big excitement was the sighting of a pair of Black Scoters, which marked my first new life birds of the year. There were hardly any other birds active at noon, but we did see a chickadee, a White-throated Sparrow, and a Song Sparrow along the paths and a smallish Red-tailed Hawk circled overhead as we were leaving.

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