Skip to main content

Scaup Tracker

Yes, it's that time of year. Late fall and cool temps are bringing the scaup streaming down from their northerly nesting grounds. As we speak, scaup - a kind of diving duck, for the unilluminati - are invading the midwest, coming to a water body near you.

We have two species, you know. Lesser Scaup, Aythya affinis, which is the common Ohio scaup and under most conditions are default scaup. Then there is the larger Great Scaup, Aythya marila; a hardier beast that rides out the cold waters of Lake Erie winters as if it is nothing, feasting liberally on the Zebra and Quagga mussels.

If you have any interest whatsoever in scaup, you'll want to log onto the amazing new "scaup-tracker". That's right, our friends the scaup now have their own website, developed and supported by our Canadian friends to the north. Good day, eh? Really, this site is quite interesting; nothing to "scaup" at, that's for sure.

To tune in to the amazing "Scaup Tracker", visit this website, courtesy of Bird Studies Canada. Here, you can monitor the descent of these most interesting of ducks as they peregrinate cross-country and into our neck of the woods. Not only can you monitor large numbers of scaup as a whole, viewers can tune in to the madcap antics of their favorite scaup. Don't have a fav? You will, once you visit the website. You see, they've named their tagged birds, and fans can specifically select, say, "Ruby Rose", and learn that she was first picked up in extreme northeastern Canada on September 19, and by October 25 was down in New York state.

"Howard" is a scaup with a mission. We pick up Ole Howie near Edmonton, Alberta on October 2, and learn that he pretty much straightlines it pronto to Lake Erie, arriving in our waters on October 23.

So, have at it. Visit the site and scaup away.


Popular posts from this blog

The Pinching Beetle, a rather brutish looking bug

The world is awash in beetles, and they come in all shapes and sizes. Few of them can match the intimidation factor of a Pinching Beetle, Lucanus capreolus, though. Those formidable looking mandibles look like they could slice off a finger.

Today was one of those coolly diverse days. I started off down in Fayette County, visiting the farm of a friend. He has restored about 25 acres of wetlands, and the response by the animal community has been nothing short of phenomenal. Blizzards of dragonflies of many species, amphibians galore, and nesting Blue-winged Teal, Pied-billed Grebe, and Sora. Among MANY other things. And all in a short two years. Add water and they will come.

Then, working my way home, I ducked into a Madison County cemetery that has a thriving population of Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrels, and shot images of our native prairie dog. Then, I stopped at a spot along Little Darby Creek, waded on in, and procured some pretty nice shots of various stream bluets and dancers. …

Calliope Hummingbird in central Ohio!

A hatch-year male Calliope Hummingbird strikes a pose. Small but tough, the hummingbird was feeding actively yesterday in 39 F temperatures. It frequents feeders and gardens at a home in Delaware County, Ohio, about a half-hour north of Columbus.

Fortunately, the wayward hummer appeared at the home of Tania and Corey Perry. Tania is a birder, and knew right away that the hummingbird was something special. For a while, the identification was up in the air, which isn't surprising. The Calliope Hummingbird used to be placed in its own genus, Stellula, but has recently been submerged into the genus Selasphorus, which includes Allen's, Broad-tailed, and Rufous hummingbirds. The latter two, especially, are quite similar to the Calliope in subadult plumage. Rufous is the default "vagrant" hummingbird here, with dozens of records and birds turning up annually. There is but one Ohio record of Allen's Hummingbird, from late fall/early winter 2009. Ditto the Calliope Hummi…

Ballooning spiders

Fear not, ye arachnophobes. The subject of this entry is indeed about spiders, but the star of the show is about as cute as a spider can get. And you'll want to know what we're about to learn...

On my recent West Virginia foray, we were strolling down a seldom-used lane, when a bright yellow object caught our eye. It was a goldenrod crab spider, Misumena vatia, on top of a post! Not only that, she - it is a girl - was acting extraordinarily goofy. The spider would stilt up as high as she could go on her legs, weave back and forth, jig side to side, and otherwise engage in what appeared to be spider break-dancing.

Click the pic for expansion, and you can see two columns of silk issuing from her spinnerets. This is an important point, as we set about determining what this non-web-making spider is doing.

So fixated was our spider on her task that she even rejected what would seem to me to be a perfectly scrumptious meal. This little caterpillar climbed rapidly up the post and dire…