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White-winged Scoters in Wake County

This morning I had 2 drake WHITE WINGED SCOTERS at Lake Crabtree in Wake
County, NC.  The birds were on one of two ice-free patches of water with
several hundred other ducks, mostly Hooded Merganser (400+), but also
present: Wood, Ring-necked, Gadwall, Ruddy, Canvasback, Mallard.  These
birds were best viewed from the observation tower near the boat rental
complex.  The ice is melting pretty quickly, so I imagine the birds will
disperse around the lake as more open water becomes available.

Lake Benson had 800 or so birds this morning, mostly Hooded Merganser.  I
would guess that I saw over a thousand Hoodies this morning!  This seems
pretty common when we get weather cold enough to freeze wooded bottomlands
and small wooded ponds.  The Hoodies congregate on larger lakes until their
preferred habitat becomes available once again.  It's amazing how many are
around that you just don' see unless the weather gets COLD.

Steve Shultz
Apex, NC