As mentioned in Bill Reeves report, I arrived as Bill was leaving. I saw his truck in passing on Hwy D and called him to get the goods. I was unable to have the coastal birds within about .75-1 mile of me Sunday. I stayed until dusk.
Monday morning, I called in late for work (Shh!) and spent 2.5 hours scoping the lake with mixed results. The majority of my time was spent at Eagle Point overlook where the break in the trees offered some interesting warbler activity as well as two Ad. Bald Eables at a mere 30 feet overhead. I was truly awestruck. Sightings below in no particular order, chronological or otherwise.
The kettle of Turkey Vultures that rose from over Barrett's Marina was impressive as I lost count several times until I gave up with a figure of 86+ individuals.
In the coolness of the early morning, Midge-like insects seemed to be attracted to my black Ranger which provided breakfast for a striking Yellow-throated Warbler. I pondered if it was dancing in delite of finding such a smorgasborg as I watched it flit, twist and twirl all over the truck.
At 6:55 a.m., 3 dark mantled gulls, with black heads and dark heavy bills flew in over the lake and proceeded NW direction - Franklin's Gulls.
On the other side of the lake over Barrett's Marina at 7:08 a.m., I spotted 4 large terns with heavy orange bills - Caspian Terns.
A small flock of 7-8 terns or small gulls were observed at 7:37 a.m. (originally seen at a distance of about 3/4 mile), finally came to within 1/2 mile where I could make out a small spot of black on the cheeks of some birds - Bonaparte's Gulls mixed with possible Forster's Terns. Frustration set in that even at these early morning hours the heat shimmer was present due to the cool night and warmer water temps.
The smaller passerines were a nice distraction in the parking and picnic area there at Eagle Point Observation Deck: Chipping Sparrows, Chestnut-sided Warblers, a bashfully calling Blue-winged Warbler as well as the year round birds.
I decided to check on boat rentals from local marinas. I spoke with Butch Barrett, owner of Barrett's Marina locate West of the dam, and he indicated that he would discount for bird watching outings provided the rental wasn't already booked. Should anyone be interested in details, contact me personally, and I'll share that information.
Good Fall Birding!

Chris Barrigar
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Stoddard Co.

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