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Greater Scaups inland

On Sunday, Dec. 12, I visited Brier Creek Reservoir at the
Raleigh-Durham airport. I saw four male Greater Scaups, plus one or two
female Canvasbacks, among the usual hundreds of Ring-necked Ducks, Ruddy
Ducks, and a few others. This is the lake where Greaters have appeared,
in numbers up to several dozen, in recent winters. Because Aviation
Parkway has been re-routed and crosses the middle of the lake, you can
get a lot closer to the birds, but also a lot closer to traffic. To
check the upper end of the lake now involves a very convoluted route.
But, that's often a good area.

To visit the lake, turn north onto Aviation Parkway from I-40, and stay
on Aviation -- not turning to the airport or to I-540. Pull over on the
right opposite the lake. You will have to walk across the median and the
southbound lanes to view the lower part of the lake where most of the
ducks are. You can see most of the upper part of the lake from farther
along Aviation Parkway.
    If you want to check the upper reaches of the lake:
Stay on Aviation. Do NOT turn onto I-540. Aviation T-'s at Globe Road.
Take a right and you will come to the uppermost end of the lake. To
check the next part of the lake, go back toward Aviation a bit, and turn
onto Kitty Hawk Drive. This road T-s into Nelson Road, and then turn
left to check the lake. To get back to Aviation, you have to backtrack.
Nelson Rd. goes OVER Aviation; there is not an interchange.

If you don't want to check the upper end of the lake, continue on
Aviation, and make a U-turn or turn around at the stoplight at Globe
Road. Again, resist the temptation to veer off onto I-540. You can pull
over on Aviation headed south, but there is a guardrail next to the
emergency lane, so you won't feel as comfortable as pulling over off the
northbound lanes.

By the way, old Aviation Parkway no longer runs along the western
runway. IT IS BLOCKED OFF. You cannot now check the small ponds that
often had waterfowl last year. The eastern ends of Nelson and Globe are
also blocked and are dead-ends. Thus, in the DeLorme atlas, the Aviation
Parkway in it no longer exists. Aviation makes a diagonal cut across the
lake to the NW, passes under Nelson, and T's at "Hillsborough" (Globe
Road). Where "Hillsborough" and Nelson touch the old Aviation, there are

Don't ask me how to get to the fields at the north end of the runway,
where the Rough-legged Hawk was seen about 2 years ago! It ain't easy
from the south! Plus, about 1/3 of the field is now a parking lot. so,
it's not worth the trouble to visit there. It isn't hard to visit from
US 70 on the north, but there are so many roads now between US 70 and
I-40, many of which are limited access, you will easily lose your way.

Harry LeGrand
Harry E. LeGrand, Jr.
N.C. Natural Heritage Program
Division of Parks and Recreation
1615 MSC
Raleigh, NC 27699-1615

Office: (919) 715-8687
Home: (919) 832-3202
FAX: (919) 715-3085
e-mail: harry.legrand@ncmail.net