On a recent late-afternoon/evening I had a hankering for seeing some water fowl and my wife had the need for some quiet-recuperate-from-the-kids time. So I loaded up my ...let's call them three "louder" children... and headed off for some Boise area parks with ponds. Along the stretch of the Boise River all through Idaho's Treasure Valley you can find dozens of adjacent ponds and lakes which play host to thousands of wintering waterfowl. November always seems to be the month in which we start seeing a good variety of birds in large numbers.
On this recent outing with the kids there were hundreds of Canada Geese, American Wigeon, Mallards, and a dozen or so Wood Ducks. There were a few Bufflehead, Common & Hooded Mergansers in the mix too.
Way out on the far side of Silver Lake, I spied some Goldeneye, but I wasn't quite sure which species they were as they all had their faces tucked into their wings snoozing in the crisp autumn eve. Finally, one stretched out it's head and revealed the white face patch...more oblong than round...indicative of Barrow's Goldeneye. Later, as I reviewed my sightings in eBird, I discovered that this sighting was about a week earlier than previously recorded in the county. Kinda cool!
The kids actually enjoyed looking at the wide variety of ducks through the Swarovski ATX spotting scope and I engaged my 11-year-old son by having him enter the sightings into the BirdLog app. He really liked doing that...so birding parents take note. Super-nature-dad doesn't always have to look at birds the whole time, especially when there is a ginormous leaf pile nearby to play on.