Sunday, January 10, 2010

Ducks ... What's a birder to look at during the Winter months?

In the fall of 2009, I read a really great book called: "A birders guide to Point Pelee (and area) by Tom Hince. I must have read this book 10 times since I've bought it. One of my favorite things about this book is it talks about the 350 or so birds that visit or live in our area and then graphs out the times of year that they are actually present.  Most birds migrate through our area going northward in May and return southward in September southward after breeding.

Much to my surprise, I learnt that many ducks hang out around our waterways in Essex county. So, I actually checked out some of the places that the book suggested, along with learning from several online sources about the location and types of birds that are present. The little parks along Riverside Dr for example "Goose Bay Park"... will have a few of the ducks below (December 27th)... The first photo below shows a pair of Hooded Mergansers and below them, a pair of Buffleheads! The males in these two species are of course the fancier ones.

I even went out to Point Pelee during my two week Christmas break. I find that when I go, there are no birds to be seen. I did see a few Cardinals, Red Bellied Woodpecker, Cedar Waxwing, Downy woodpecker and these Lesser Scaup on the East side of the point. Often times, you will see a 'floatila' of ducks, often a whole assortment of species. Below I provide a photo of Lesser Scaup Ducks as they eagerly paddled away from my human existence on the East Beach of Point Pelee.

Lakeview Marina often affords some sights of ducks in the winter as well... here is a photo I shot in late December as well... If you could zoom in to the photo below, you would see two Great Blue Heron and I would conseratively guess about 6 different species of ducks and geese and waterfowl.
Note: You can click the image below and see a large or closer view of the birds.

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