I immediately started scanning the sky for the expected Cooper’s hawk but I was taken by surprise when an adult bald eagle appeared, skimming right over the not-too-tall treetops. There are bald eagles around, but I had not seen one at this park before.
There is always action at the McAlpine Park beaver pond, just a few yards away from the main lake. There is always a flock of about 20 mallards, and sometimes some other ducks or grebes. A belted kingfisher is frequently there; if you miss it initially just wait a few minutes. It will show.
A great egret has been resident there year-round for about four years, unusual for this area in late fall and winter.
And what about that lone gull that drifted out of sight? Once things calmed down it reappeared in the center of the main lake. Ring-billed gulls loiter at the lake occasionally but this gull was a first winter herring gull; another species I have never seen at the park. It is quite unusual for herring gulls to hang out at a small pond. You must normally go to Lake Norman to see them.
I don’t keep a McAlpine Park List , but if I did I would have added two birds to it that day.