|Dawn at Panama Flats|
The sun was just rising but there was enough light to scan through the mass of wildfowl on the southwest and northwest quadrants.
As on my last visit to this wonderful site there were hundreds of pintail, American wigeon, green-winged teal and mallard. In amongst the quacking congregation there were also smaller numbers of northern shoveler, gadwall and a few hooded merganser and bufflehead too. I was hoping to locate a Eurasian teal in the mix, but only found a couple of drake Eurasian wigeons.
There were good numbers of tiny cackling geese, in with many Canadas of varying sizes. During the first hour of daylight flights of ducks and geese continued to arrive and depart, truly adding to the wonderful feeling that many of these birds are just arriving from northern climes.
I walked the perimeter of the flats and stopped briefly to admire an adult peregrine (pictured) before coming across a flock of dark-eyed juncos and mixed sparrows feeding on the muddy path in the northeast corner.
Among them were a number of Lincoln's sparrows and I got a brief but convincing look at what was almost certainly a swamp sparrow. Disappointed that I couldn't get the thing to emerge for a better look, I plodded on conscious of the time and my need to get to work.
Just after passing the grey building adjacent to Carey Road, another flock of sparrows exploded from the weedy pathside grass. A dark sparrow caught my eye as it flitted away and I got my bins on it as it clung to some tall grass stems. Now, that definitely was a swamp sparrow! It dropped down and strangely seemed to emerge again immediately several feet to the right. Odd.
As I enjoyed more good looks at the bird it was joined by another from the left - there were two together! They flitted off in unison toward the central berm, stopping frequently in tussocks of vegetation. Nice!
On my way to the car I noticed one of the wintering white-throated sparrows at Hyacincth.