Merganser Are Back

Hooded mergansers typically arrive in our wetlands in November, from the first to third week in November. A trio showed up today (10/20) at the end of the third week of October. The birds usually get right to the business of pair-bonding upon arrival. The bonds are formed here on the wintering grounds and reinforced throughout the season. When, sometime next March and April, the birds head back north to the breeding areas the pairs are already formed and theyRead more

The Geese Are Back

Each February, sometimes as early as late January, two geese fly into our wetlands. It’s the same pair each year. This year, it happened to be the last week of January when they showed up. How do I know they’re the same geese. I don’t know with absolute certainty. But, the female of the two has a gray or whitish eye-ring. Most Canada geese do not have an eye-ring (it’s black, and since the feathers surrounding the eye are blackRead more

Bufflehead

On December 15, I noticed a small gray duck swimming in proximity to the slightly larger hooded mergansers in our Wetlands. I immediately thought bufflehead. The last time I saw a bufflehead in the Wetlands was November of 2014 when two showed up. At least one of them stayed until 26, December. Sure enough, there was another this year. With the current freezing temps, all waterfowl had departed by the end of this week. Diving ducks, of which both mergansers andRead more

Pied-billed Grebe

If we’re going to see a pied-billed grebe in our Wetlands it’s a safe bet it’ll be in late September or October. One of these small diving waterbirds dropped into the Wetlands yesterday (9/28). Pied-billed grebes are year round residents but I only see them here at the Museum between the end of September thru March. They’re fun to watch as they dive under the water for aquatic insects, fish, tadpoles, and the occasional crawfish. I’m not sure how long this one will stay with us,Read more

Waterfowl

In contrast to the cormorant in the previous two posts, the hooded mergansers are doing well in our Wetlands. When the water is not frozen, we consistently have 6 – 7 mergs floating, preening, and feeding. The six in the photo above appear to be three mated pairs. I sometimes hear and see them reinforcing their pair bonds during the day, the drakes croaking, primping, and strutting for the ducks’ attention. It’s a peaceful scene to see these handsome birds out onRead more

Cormorant Update

Yesterday I posted about a double-crested cormorant that found its way into our Wetland here at the Museum. I speculated as to how the bird ended up here, whether it was ill or simply separated from the flock it may have been traveling with. Cormorants are commonly seen at local lakes and reservoirs but this was the first I had seen in our Wetland. As it turns out, the bird was probably ill. Ranger Rock spotted part of a wingRead more

A New Species, Kind of

A new bird species stopped in for a visit yesterday (Thurs. 1/7). I’d seen the species before here at the Museum, but always in flocks as a fly-over, never perched in a tree, on the ground, or in the water of the Wetlands. At the end of that chilly, overcast day, I noticed something out-of-place in one of the willow trees of the Wetlands. A large branch had suddenly sprung up, where there once was none, on a low slung willow trunk on the south sideRead more

Look Who’s Back!

  I first noticed the grebe towards the end of the day on the 16th of October. I hadn’t seen one here in our Wetlands since 2012, September to be exact.     These smallest of grebes likely to be found in the east, are by no means rare, or even uncommon. A trip to any of the big lakes in our area during late fall or winter should score a look at one. Despite their relative common local occurence,Read more