Monday, January 16, 2012

Big January Update: 2 New Birds, 2 New Places to Bird

1. Cherry Hill res-kab Cherry Hill Reservoir 1-14-12

I’ve been too many days without a new species and with the cold weather predicted for Sunday I decide to take advantage of the somewhat milder temperatures on Saturday. So, Gus and I head off to a place I have seen as a Birding Hotspot on eBird, but I have never been to. It is called Cherry Hill Reservoir, and from where I live, there is no direct route to get there. We must travel back roads, so off we go.

2. Bradford Rd-kabOur route takes us around Lake Cochichewick and though we should turn right onto Route 133 towards Georgetown, I decide to have Gus go straight across onto Bradford road where I have seen another Birding Hotspot marked on eBird. I have never been on this road in the year and a half that I have lived here. As we come down a little hill to a wetland area I see a huge flock of mallards in the still unfrozen water. Gus pulls over for me to count the birds and I am all excited because, mixed in with all the mallards I see…

3. N. Pintail-kab a pair of Northern Pintail Ducks!

4. Castle-kab We continue our journey over hill and dale, around curves and across intersections. We travel past golf courses, through neighborhoods of modest homes as well as mansions, past farmland and woodlands and finally we are there! As we pull into the first pull off so I can jump out to see what I can see, I see this huge castle-like mansion sitting on the brow of the hill, overlooking it all.

5. common mergansers-kab Far out in the lake I spot four common mergansers.

Then a car pulls in next to us and asks if I can see the canvasback that has been hanging out here. I did not even know a canvasback was hanging out here! It is getting very cold and the wind has picked up. I have jumped out of the car so quickly that in my excitement I forgot to put my gloves back on. My hands are freezing, but I look into the cove below the mansion where they say the bird hangs out. I can see nothing. I scan the whole shoreline. Nothing. So, they pull away and I jump back into the car. Gus and I head down the road, passing the water on our left and more homes on our right. We come the end of the water and the road continues up a little hill. We turn around and head back, then Gus pulls over at the south end of the reservoir. I jump out once again to see what I can see, but all I see, at first, are some crows flying over the water. Then, suddenly, I spot a glistening silver body at the north end of the water right where I just came from! I jump back in and and have Gus drive us back. As we pull alongside the guardrail I can see the duck right outside my window! Gus pulls over and I start shooting pictures from inside the car.

6. Canvasback-kab Canvasback 1-14-12 Cherry Hill Reservoir

The duck looks at me warily over its shoulder, then paddles away towards the cove. Apparently, while we were looking for it in the northwest corner, it was somewhere along the middle of the western bank hugging the shoreline and close to the road. Now as I stand watching and photographing, it paddles its way slowly back to the northwest corner where the other birders told me it is usually seen.

7. swimming away-kab As the sun sinks lower and  the wind blows colder I jump back in the heated car with Gus. (If you enlarge the photo above you can still see the canvasback as a tiny silver dot in the lower right corner of the photo just to the left of the bush!)

8. Reservoir-kab While I only saw 3 species of birds here today, I will definitely come back to this place, though it would be nice to find a quicker way to get here! Earlier this fall a vagrant Cassin’s Kingbird was seen hanging out around this reservoir. Another birder told me it was seen as late as January 8th of this year! Well, that’s a bird for another day, but I am glad I finally took the trip to Cherry Hill!

Click on the link below to see the latest update on my

Big January 2012 Bird List


  1. Kathie, looks like a beautiful place to go birding. Great sighting and photo of the Canvasback. Happy Birding and have a great day!

  2. You've discovered yet another great place to bird. Wonder if the folks in the mansion/castle appreciate it as much.

  3. wow!! looks like terrific places to wander around...and watch for birds and other little critters!!

    that male (?) pintail duck...the one on the right in the beautiful!! i love his markings!!

    the canvasback is cool too...but i'm in love with the pintail!!

    great pictures kathie!!

  4. Beautiful place! some great duck finds. I love seeing the different kinds of ducks. If I'm lucky some pass through here during migration time.

  5. Two nice captures for you Kathie, we get the cousin to the Canvasback (the Pochard), very common. The Pintail we also see, but not so frequently.

  6. Hi Katie...Wow that is a duck haven..some real nice ones hanging out there...good swanky area to be in that house on the hill..look like the begining of a fairy tale LOL

  7. Nice work on your shot of the Pintails. Looks like you've found a great spot for future birding. (BTW: "There is no direct route to get there." is the motto of the Arkansas Highway Department.)

  8. Hi Kathie

    It looks like a great trip and I really liked the Canvasback. The setting was nice as well, a fun post.


  9. Nice photos! I like the how those mallards and intermingling with the aquatic vegetation too, it's a more interesting venue than the usual clear open ponds were ducks are so often found, kinda has a more nature-y feel to it.
    I really like how much and how well you include landscape shots with your posts. It takes the reader there.

  10. Beautiful canvasback and spectacular winter photos! I've had a great birding winter, too: Snowy Owls! I even got a photo of one yawning (or something...). Check it out:

  11. Eileen, thank you. You are always so polite!

    Gaelyn, don't know but I suspect so. If for no other reason than it is very exclusive!

    forestwalk, I really love pintails also. I think they are so handsome!

    Mary, our winter ducks make the winters more bearable!

    Roy, a pochard would bring out a flock of birders here!

    Grammie g, Yes it does, but a good Fairy tale or a tragic one! I do hope to go back!

    Marvin, LOL! it is the same in Maine, though they say it a bit differently and with a downeast accent: "You can't get theya from heya."

    Thanks Guy!

    Laurence and Maria, I always like to put things in context! Thanks for noticing!

    Andrea, thanks for stopping by. I looked at that photo and it is amazing. Looks like the owl is showing you its tonsils!

  12. Looks like a beautiful place to go birding! How very exciting to see the pintails and canvasback. Northern Pintails are lovely looking ducks. So glad you were able to locate the canvasback. I would love to see one of these. Wonderful images! Great post!

  13. Congrats on the 2 new birds!
    Nice photos too!

  14. Great image of the Canvasback, Kathie. Congrats! I've seen a pair only once far away on a reservoir.

  15. Hi Kathie. They say there is always a surprise around the corner ... even if it was a fair trip to find it. Nice view of the Canvasback and I always enjoy watching the elegant Pintails. Cheers FAB.

  16. The lighting in your photos is beautiful. I hope to get out this weekend if the weather improves. Our roads are treacherous today with a winter storm.


Welcome to my nest! I hope you will enjoy spending time here with me and the birds. Thank you for your comments. I will try to get back to you as soon as I get back from counting more birds.