Two separate field trips in February, both led by Bryan Henson and Allison Gallo, took participants to several locations in Loudoun County to look for waterfowl as a follow up to the virtual Wildlife Workshop held in January.
Despite cold weather causing a lot of ponds to be frozen, our first field trip on February 6 yielded a good mix of waterfowl. Our first stop, at Middlesex Drive Pond, was mostly frozen with a small bit of open water that contained a Mute Swan, Gadwall and Mallards. Our second stop, Ashburn Lake, added several new waterfowl to our list including Ring-necked Ducks, Common Mergansers, Buffleheads, Pied-billed Grebes and our most uncommon bird of the day: a Cackling Goose! After Ashburn Lake, we visited Beaverdam Creek Reservoir from both the Mt. Hope Church and the Reservoir Road entrances. Five new species were found from the church side: Lesser Scaup, Common Goldeneye, Northern Pintail, American Wigeon and Hooded Mergansers. Two more species were found from the Reservoir Road side: Canvasback and Red-breasted Merganser.
On our February 12 trip, warm weather made for pretty comfortable waterfowl watching. At Middlesex Drive Pond, we found a Mute Swan, a few Ring-necked Ducks, several Gadwall, some Mallards, some American Black Ducks and one hybrid duck — a Mallard x American Black Duck hybrid. Our second stop, Ashburn Lake, introduced us to a few additional species, including Common Merganser, Hooded Merganser, Lesser Scaup and a Pied-billed Grebe. Our final stop at Beaverdam Creek Reservoir, added one new species to our list: two pairs of Northern Pintails.