Before a frustrating dusk miss of both the Cackling and Barnacle Geese in the Southport area of Fairfield (although we would get redemption on the former over the weekend, and the latter on Thursday, January 9th), Jim Orrico and I birded the Ash Creek area for a couple of hours, late on the afternoon on Wednesday, January 8.
Our first stop was the Upper Ash Creek area, which due to the incredibly cold temperatures we’d been experiencing, was found to be mostly frozen. However, we were able to pick up one of the continuing male Eurasian Wigeon in some of the open water, as well as a nearby Killdeer, although the awesome waterfowl numbers I had found there previously were severely depleted, likely due to the conditions. They would rebound over the weekend, though.
We then headed down to the Ash Creek Open Space area, where we were able to view much of the marsh and creek beyond. The heavy tides in this area allowed all of the water to stay open, and thus we caught up with a great deal of waterfowl, dominated by Mallard (330 to be exact). We found this to be an interesting juxtaposition in comparison with the Upper Ash Creek area, which is usually dominated by American Black Ducks.
Highlights at the open space included decent numbers of waterfowl including the aforementioned Mallards, 35 Canada Goose, 4 Gadwall, one of the male Eurasian Wigeon that drifted down from Upper Ash, 40 American Wigeon, 50 American Black Duck, 1 American Black Duck x Mallard, 8 Greater Scaup, 6 Bufflehead, 10 Hooded and 8 Red-breasted Merganser.
A Red-tailed Hawk, seven Killdeer and a nice count of eighteen American Tree Sparrow were some of the other highlights.
I was able to get a number of photos of the birds in the Ash Creek area, many of which are below (as always, click on the images for larger and clearer views):