Today at Ellis Lake I was privileged to see a green heron, a hawk that I think is a red-shouldered hawk and a common merganser (male) duck. Just one. I know there’s probably not an answer to this question, but HOW can one duck get lost from the flock and end up in a tiny lake in the middle of Concord? He looked like he couldn’t decide whether to hang out with the mallards and try to blend in, or float around with the young seagull. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a merganser before, either.
A few days ago, I saw a small bird among many in the bushes, with a bright yellow back between its lower wings. First time for that, as well. I went home to look it up and found that it was a yellow-rumped warbler. None of these birds visiting Ellis Lake may be rare or unusual to the seasoned bird watcher, but for me, I think it’s time to start my Life List!
Susan the Crazy Bird Lady of Ellis Lake, Concord, California
When I’ve spotted mergansers in the wild, they’ve usually been in small groups, or as solitary birds like this one. In my experience, they tend not to go for big flocks. I remember once being in the Inyo Mountains of Southeastern California (near Saline Valley, just over a few hills from Death Valley) one time. We were following a couple of narrow ruts through the wilderness when we came upon a tiny lake in the middle of nowhere in the high desert. And guess what was floating in the middle of this tiny high desert lake, all by his lonesome? A male merganser.
That is definitely a red-shouldered hawk. You are having way too much fun bird watching at Ellis Lake. I hope a bunch of my readers start to join you. It is a VERY neat place to bird watch in the middle of the city. Heck, you can stop by and check out a few birds (and maybe that river otter) on the way to the supermarket!
Here’s a reminder on how to get to Ellis Lake for those who still don’t know: http://bit.ly/yUdyW2
If you scroll down you can read the two previous entries by Susan the Crazy Bird Lady of Ellis Lake. Have fun! /Gary