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Seattle. November 6, 2011.
Mr. Bwren has mentioned from time to time that he should put a note on the dashboard of my car: "No birding while driving!" It's a lost cause. My attention flies to the odd peripheral movements in the trees around me, the shapes floating on the lake. It's a bad habit, I know, but I can't help it.
Driving back from the forest today I couldn't help but notice the little groups of Buffleheads resting on the lake. The light was so right and the lake was so still; their neat little white and black bodies just seemed to glow.
Three of them lifted off the lake and flew north as I passed, their route exactly parallel to mine. How fast can Buffleheads fly? I tried to keep the leader exactly in line with the passenger wing window. 20mph at first, then 25, then 30. The speed limit along that part of the road is 30mph, but there were no other cars so I continued to increase my speed to match theirs. 35. 36. 37. They outpaced me at 37mph. I let them go.
November 6, 2011. Bufflehead flocks on the lake are increasing in number. Some can fly at a speed greater than 37mph.
Where are you and what's happening there?
I'll be in and out after about 1pm PST.