I have found them a handful of times yet they have been challenging to photograph. Below is one I found Feb 7,
2014 at Lake Hartwell, GA, and below that are two I found at Lake Hartwell, GA on Dec 20, 2013.
|Long-tailed Duck - very close and cooperative.
|It was in the north cove of Elrod Ferry and swam by the buoy on the way to the beach area.
|Surprisingly, it swam into the inflatable ringed off area of the beach there at Elrod Ferry.
LONG-TAILED DUCKS - Two circled a number of times. Then they would land and immediately go under for a while.
I could see them very clearly. Photos show all necessary field marks, but quite frankly I thought they would have
turned out better. That's okay, I'm just glad to get photos.
Here's a quick type for those who request information about the Lake Hartwell birds I had yesterday, Dec 20. This
time, I hit the lake a lot harder than usual. Conditions were good for visibility. Hunters appeared to have cleared
much of the area of duck activity. I checked Hart SP, Long Point, Elrod Ferry, and the dam. I attempted photos
of all the birds though I assume some will be too far off for good detail. I will try to review the photos in a couple
days when I have time.
LONG-TAILED DUCKS - Around 10 am I found two first winter/female-types.
They were seen flying circles between Elrod Ferry and Long Point in that cove area. They landed a couple of times
and would immediately go under water for several minutes. They disappeared after that and I didn't see them the rest
of the day. Very difficult to photo, but I managed a few distant pics.
PACIFIC LOONS (3) After
reporting these a number of times now, I think I finally got some less blurry pics. I spent a long time trying to get
better photos which I found to be quite challenging in my previous visits. Seen from the dam on the GA and SC side.
Also, seen from Elrod Ferry and Long Point.
RED-NECKED GREBE - I thought I saw
this bird the last two times I was there but it was out a ways on the SC side, and it was not cooperating. This time
I remembered to keep an eye out towards to SC side near the Singing Pines area. I finally saw it come out towards the
middle of the lake later on in the day. Large grebe, long thick yellowish bill. I took some distant pics, but
I am not sure if they will turn out. Interestingly, while I was watching it I had a local birder come up, Thomas Burriss,
and I showed him the bird. He said he would be my witness if the photos didn't come out. He must have seen some
of my other photo attempts at this lake, LOL.
GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE Always nice
to find especially away from the Chattahoochee corridor. It was in with Canadas which moved around the lake. Check
the shore areas where the Canadas hang out. I got a good pic of this one.
CACKLING GEESE (5 or
more) These were seen flying west over the water just north of Long Point. They were quite distinctive with their
short necks, small size, small bills, yet plumage similar to Canada Geese. Interestingly, their flight is distinctive
and it appears quicker than Canada. Their wings and back appear to have slightly more silver appearance than Canada
in my opinion. I thought they were going to land. When I realized they weren't I threw the camera up and attempted
some distant video. They appeared to fly over near Hart State Park. I drove over there in pursuit but didn't see
DUCKS: I didn't see many ducks probably due to hunting pressures. As the day went on I found
some in the coves. One female COMMON GOLDENEYE and about 10 flying over were nice to see. Also, a couple AMERICAN
BLACK DUCK, a few GREATER SCAUP, about 20 RED-BREASTED MERGANSER, also a few of the more common ones like REDHEAD and AMERICAN
POSSIBLE: I thought I saw the Black-legged Kittiwake which I found and photoed last time. The
problem was that it was hidden behind some other gulls and I got distracted and lost it. Also, had a decent candidate
for a Thayer's Gull. It was a bit distant. I took a few pics and will analyze them at a later time. And
finally, a possible female-type Common Merganser was out a ways on the lake. It appeared bigger than the Red-breasted
Mergansers which it was nearby, with a different posture and head shape, but it was far out and I was again distracted when
something closer appeared.
OTHER STUFF: Bonaparte's Gull (500+), Herring Gull
(20+), Very large distant gull in bad light (1), Forster's Tern (2)