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Savannnah NWR 12/1/2000

A day spent birding with a couple of ducks as the target birds should have a
steely gray sky, a chilly breeze, and an occasional spit of rain.  And that
was the day Sharon Brown and I had at Savannah NWR.

Our target birds were Redheads and Canvasbacks, not easy to find in SC.  We
were partially successful and we had a number of "bonus" birds, as well.

We did get so lucky as to find a Canvasback, a mahogany-headed drake, a
sharp looking bird.  Oddly enough, our splendid looks at the bird, who was
hanging around in a large raft of Coots and not doing a good job of hiding
his bright white back among all the dark Coots, allowed us to see that the
bird apparently had only one eye.  He seemed in fine health with beautiful,
well-preened  feathers and enough breast to convince me he wasn't starving.
He handled his handicap by spending much of his time "pivoting", swimming
almost constantly and  turning himself around by moving his front half in a
semi-circle while his tail stayed nearly stationary. 

Among our bonus birds were a cooperative Sora, also in fine feather, who was
feeding with a couple of Coots and Moorhens, and a Marsh Wren, who flitted
around in vegetation right beside the road, busily catching small white
flying insects.  Both birds allowed us excellent views.  Other bonus birds
included a distant look at two blue phase Snow Geese and a Henslow's
Sparrow.  The Henslow's Sparrow allowed me excellent looks at his flat olive
head and heavily striped back before he teleported himself into invisibility.

We did not find the White-faced Ibis, although each dark Ibis was carefully
scrutinized, nor the Sandhill Cranes.  There weren't too many dark Ibis
around today, although there were many White Ibis.

On our way to our final stop, we passed a live Armadillo on the side of
I-95, as opposed to the many dead ones usually seen on the side of I-95 in
that area.  I had never seen a live Armadillo.

Our final stop was a quick stop by Mary's Pond at Bear Island WMA.  There
were 173 Tundra Swans and one Herring Gull at Mary's Pond, including several
darker immature swans (are they still called cygnets once they fledge?).  It
was not much for variety but the Swans were so lovely that I didn't care.

All in all, it was a ducky day!    
Donna Bailey
Winnsboro, SC
e-mail: dsbailey@conterra.com
URL: http://www.conterra.com/dsbailey
     "Where are the Birds?  Migration across South Carolina"
URL: http://www.conterra.com/dsbailey/audubon	
    "Columbia Audubon Society"