Sunday, November 25, 2007

Rainy Day Reflections in a Reservoir (and a Mill Pond)

We couldn't resist the lure of the lakes and ponds of Taney County on this rainy day in the Ozarks. After a slow start of mostly Mallards on some of the urban ponds in Springfield, we headed south. At Lake Springfield we spotted a mixed flock of divers. This was good news to me, as ducks have been in short supply this fall, and divers have been nearly impossible to find. The flock was nearly socked in by the fog created by vapors from the warm lake water rising into the cold air that recently descended into our area. Our flock of divers included 23 Ruddy Ducks, 6 Lesser Scaup, two Bufflehead, one Ring-necked Duck, and one Horned Grebe. Twenty some Corms sat in their normal place, and a Ring-billed Gull circled along the south end of the lake. Showers continued to dampen our enthusiasm, but we headed for Branson.

Our next stop was the boat ramp at monstrous Chateau on the Lake resort on Table Rock Reservoir. We quickly spotted 4 Common Loons (photo courtesy of Marvin DeJong). The rains stopped as we slipped onto the private marina to get a closer look. While photographing loons on the marina decking, I spotted a flock of 11 Horned Grebe along the opposite shoreline. A couple Pied-billed Grebes fished near the marina. And no security guards stopped to ask what we were doing.

We made our way across the dam and downstream to our next stop of the day. It was the beautiful campus of the College of the Ozarks. There were my favorite looks of the day. On the first of two ponds near Edwards Mill, four pair of Bufflehead (photo courtesy of Marvin DeJong) frolicked at close range. A few Lesser Scaup and a pair of Mute Swans swam nearby. In the lower mill pond, a mixed flock of 30-40 Bufflehead and Lesser Scaup, with a single Mallard drake, leisurely swam nearby, seemingly unbothered by our presence. Perhaps that was the neatest thing about this place. Each year Bufflehead, scaup, and Ring-necked Ducks spend their winter in this beautiful setting growing accustomed to passing students every day.

And so, a rainy day saw a respite, and we managed to find some pretty cool species. Special thanks to Marvin DeJong for sharing the great outdoors with me, and for providing the wonderful shots of Common Loons and Buffehead for this post. I took this picture of him working deligently for me. :)


marvin d said...

Hey, thanks for using the photos. The loons are still a difficult shot what with the fog and the distance they keep between themselves and the lens. Sun would have helped the Buffleheads, but they are black and white anyway so the weather did not affect them as much. Nice blog!

Greg said...

Thank you for offering. I think they are great!