Sunday, February 12, 2012


Palmyra and Sodus Point received about a foot of snow since yesterday afternoon, most of it overnight to about 1 PM.  It's cold right now (24), but up from the upper teens earlier.  Here's what I saw looking out the front door this morning.

One meteorologist posted that other areas around us received up to 16", which is 3/5ths of the snow received this season to date. I don't know anyone complaining.  While I was looking forward to experiencing lake-effect snows first-hand this year, I didn't want to start in mid-February.


It's a day trip this weekend. Lots to do at home, and there's a possibility of lake-effect snow in which we'd love to be trapped, but need to be more prepared. About 25 degrees out, with a wind out of the north at about 25 MPH, gusting higher. Blowing snow and sand, Sodus Point was almost deserted. Perfect.

A ride around the Loop revealed some ducks on the South side close to the village. Who knows where the rest are. I liked this view because of the flat ground, the single dark tree, the open water and Charles Point beyond. That's blowing snow and spray over the water.

From the $299,000 lot at the end of the Loop. Cool frozen spray.

These long rollers were coming in all the way past 5th Street, maybe even to the docks. I've never seen rollers come that far, or whitecaps right up to the edge.

Some great rollers on the Lake.

Shipwreck?  A's been watching the one on the left for weeks. It finally started rolling in the waves yesterday, but we weren't ready to go down and get it.

Ducks on a roller coaster in the channel.

A calls it Upstate Coral.


Finally. I've seen enough pictures of this bird taken by other people to be sure I was looking at the right bird. More reports of sightings at Sodus Point on Friday prompted me to take even more looks on Saturday. I was determined to see this bird for myself, and to be positive it was the right bird.

It's a female King Eider, apparently rare in these parts, and she's stayed close to the same spot on the south end of the channel for several weeks now. My first look was through a magnificent scope offered up by an experienced birder a couple weeks back. The birds were rising and falling fast on the channel swells, and I just wasn't sure I had the right bird.

I've researched Eiders in general and examined my own hundreds of pictures very closly, but haven't been sure enough to tell myself "that's it!". Until yesterday.

More pictures of her were posted on Flickr by Melissa and Wade here, taken last weekend. So, I was more determined than ever that I was finally going to see this bird, this weekend. This has been the winter that wasn't, until yesterday. It was about 25 degrees around 2PM, and the wind was out of the North at about 25 MPH, gusting higher.

There were quite a few ducks in the channel, mostly Long-tailed, though it was rolling like a coaster with breaking whitecaps.

I don't have a scope yet, so I'm looking for this bird using a combination of my Nikon 10x50 binoculars, Canon XTi Rebel with a Sigma 70-300mm lens, a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ7 with the equivalent of 36-432mm zoom, and a Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS10, 21x zoom. I know, sell one of them and buy a scope.

With the binoculars, looking in the reported location, I found what I knew to be the Eider. It was bigger than the other birds, lighter brown than a female Mallard, and the head profile was right.  I don't use this photo as any ID proof, only proof to me where I saw her.

I'm satisfied. Unless I can get a closer, clearer picture. I'll keep looking and trying.

Here's a picture of a female King Eider for reference:

Next up: a Loon. I'm pretty sure I saw one or two a couple weeks ago, standing up in the bay off Greig Street.  But not sure enough to be satisfied. I need a picture.