28 October 2014
Although very mild for the time of year the day was wet with some heavy rain, a little drizzle and a few sunny intervals. Drawn as I am to wetlands, I decided once again to see what I could find.
My visit to Laurentian Wetland was very satisfactory. For the most part the rain held off, although the sky was grey and overcast most of the time. Several species of duck have recently arrived and a careful search turned up a great variety of waterfowl.
I think that Northern Pintail Anas acuta is one of the most elegant of all ducks, and I was happy to see a pair feeding together. Given the distance from the shore and the poor light the images are not great, but they serve as a record of the presence of this species on this date.
Canada Goose Branta canadensis is resident all year at the wetland unless there is a total freeze up, when out of necessity they have to move elsewhere. In historical times this species was entirely migratory, but now whole generations accustomed to the easy life around humans, have lost the urge to migrate and spend the winter here. It is an extremely common species, very adaptable and highly successful and little attention is paid to it, other than for people who revile it, principally due to the problem caused by its droppings. It is, in fact a handsome bird indeed, and worthy of our admiration.
Mallards, Anas platyrynchos continue to delight me, and I never tire of their stunning beauty. Often found in the company of Canada Geese, these two species share in the ignominious distinction of being almost totally ignored.
I saw but one Hooded Merganser Lophodytes cucullatus as this male streamed by way off in the distance.
Several pairs of American Wigeon Anas americana were present, this pair getting along amicably with Canada Geese.
As might be expected Great Blue Herons Ardea herodias dotted the shallows, and this hardy species will stay until the water freezes over, when it will migrate south.
Northern Shovelers Anas clypeata were particularly hard to photograph and spent most of their time upended in the water. They were also distant and in poor light.
American Robins Turdus migratorius were feeding on berries, and it seemed serendipitous that this one, as was the case yesterday, came to bid me farewell.