It’s becoming a habit of mine to search out the warmest spot around for a hiking/birding destination. I check the weather forecast for several towns, and follow up with a look at the web cams. With cold fog hanging in the inland valleys, the coast has been the winning area lately. Yesterday, Coos Bay was the warmest around by about five degrees, so I settled on the John Topits City Park for an afternoon bird walk. The park has a great network of paved trails that circle the Empire Lakes. One of the birds that we saw and I photographed is shown here, a male Ring-necked Duck on Lower Empire Lake. I also got some photos of a juvenile Lesser Scaup on Upper Empire Lake. It seemed like birds were a little scarce, but the warm sunshine was an ample reward, and still we ended up with 14 different species identified.