There were 18 eager birders packed into five cars, ready to start the New Year right. We got to Siders Pond in Falmouth to find there was a distant flock of 200 Scaup at the far end along with a few Bufflehead. The flock of Scaup on nearby Salt Pond was smaller, but close enough to pick out a few Lesser Scaup in with the Greaters. Also with them were more Bufflehead, some Red-breasted and Hooded Mergansers, 5 Coot, 8 Goldeneye, and a Red-throated Loon. Off Surf Avenue there were 2 more Red-throated Loon, 2 Common Loon, a few Eiders and Goldeneyes, and Bonaparte’s Gulls feeding in flight. We drove north, then east to Crane WMA, where the Mountain Bluebird was on display with one Eastern Bluebird, several Meadowlarks, and a Pine Warbler.
After a break, we headed east to Marston’s Mills, where at first there was little visible except a Great Blue Heron resting in the same tree as it was a few weeks earlier. We walked the small path through the alder brush until we could see the back marsh where the dabblers were feeding. The light was perfect and the colors shone bright on every feather. We picked out two male and one female Eurasian Wigeon as well as a pair of Shovelers, some Gadwalls, American Wigeons, and Hooded Mergansers. We heard from a local birder about a Redhead at Flashy Pond, but returning there only gave us some Bufflehead and a female Ring-necked Duck. He also reported a King Eider in the canal below the RR bridge, but we only found 800 Common Eiders packed close and diving for food, a sight in itself. Nine Brant were also on the grass above them and a dozen cormorants were resting on the bank there.
At the other end of the canal in Sandwich we spotted a diving Razorbill, a few Common Loons, and a flyby Peregrine at the Visitor Center. From the end of Town Neck Road, we had good looks at distant flying Gannets, and nearby there were a hundred or more Eiders, a dozen or more Common Loons, plus Goldeneyes, Buffleheads, and Red-breasted Mergansers, 2 Greater Scaup and 3 Great Cormorant. It was late, so we rushed north to Plymouth Beach as the sun painted the western sky. Scanning there, we found Oldsquaw, as well as Red-breasted Mergansers, Common Loons, Surf Scoters, White-winged Scoters, Bufflehead, Eiders, and a Horned Grebe. It was the end of another terrific trip and the start of another great year of birding.