It’s getting late in the year, and colder now. My goal for today was to find some more ducks. I know I’ve got gaps and am missing quite a few. So I first stopped by the eastern end of the Truckee marsh, parking at Lily Lane to access the wetlands. I ran into my fellow birders, Jenny and Bob Sweatt. They hadn’t seen anything new and were heading over to the other side of the marsh; Jenny told me about where she’d seen the Black-Crowned Night Herons – so I could look for them later – so nice of her. I continued out into the marsh, and observed a number of mid-sized black-and-white ducks that I later identified as Bufflehead ducks. The lake was beautifully smooth, making for some nice reflection shots, so I was glad I carried my tripod. I identified a lone Northern Shoveler duck, which I had not seen before here; the male develops brighter plumage around this time of year, and its large bill is unmistakable. (I was told that since I’d started my TBY participation late (in mid April) that I probably missed some of the migrating ducks the previous winter. A number of sparrows were popping in and out of the willow bushes, keeping a cautious eye on me. I identified several as Savannah Sparrows which I’d seen previously but not up so close. Similarly, I saw a Horned Lark on the beach – it was much closer that the previous pair I’d seen at the Pomin Park field trip.

I went to look for the Black-Crowned Night Herons, but I couldn’t find them. Later when I got home and was reviewing my photos, I found I’d captured a different duck. The TINS Facebook group confirmed it was a Surf Scoter. This was exciting since I was the first observer of this particular duck this year. Score!

Today I added 3 species to my Tahoe Big Year list.

Great Blue Heron

Savannah Sparrow

Common Merganser

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