We arrived as the sun was coming up, and were sad to see that the water was all covered in a thick fog! We waited around at the base of the dam, watching the flock of gulls that was visible from there, and soon we watched the sun hit the fog and burn it all off.
We then hit the highway again to reach Mountain View reservoir, knowing that we'd return to CJ Strike at the end of our birding day.
We got to Mountain View, and the bird community had changed a lot! Almost all the shorebirds were gone, and more waterfowl had come in to replace them!
We stopped first at the actual reservoir itself, before heading to the productive 'Blue Creek' area below the dam.
Of course there were plenty of loons here too, and we drove to several different vantage points to check out what turned out to be Common's....but we tried our best to make them into something else! :)
While walking to another spot to scope, Jay glimpsed a bird just as it dove underwater....a Scoter!
I'd never seen ANY scoter species before, so I knew whatever popped up would be a lifer! It took a while, since the bird kept diving, but soon we got the scope on it and could see that it had the white patch on the back of its head and no white on its wings...it was a Surf Scoter! We also ended up finding another scoter nearby...also a Surf. Of course we were hoping for the more rare species in Idaho, a Black Scoter, but it was still a year bird for both of us, and a Heidi Lifer!!! My favorite thing about the scoters was the way that they dove....it's so different from what other water birds do! Also...the last lifer/yearbird had been all the way back on October 12, with the Black-bellied Plover...so of course I thought it was about time I got another one! heehee :)
We didn't see anything else 'crazy', BUT, while scoping around, Jay spotted a falcon chasing around a flock of what looked like teal....and the falcon looked HUGE! It landed, and through the wind I tried to keep my binocs on it while Jay set up the scope....a shaky gust of wind came, and suddenly the Falcon was gone! :O NOOOOO! We never got the scope on it, and cant say for sure...but we were pretty sure it was a Gyrfalcon....sad day! Hopefully another Gyr will decide to visit Idaho this winter....and stay long enough for us to see it!