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Monday, April 02, 2007

Prime Time Ducks

4 Ring-necked Ducks, 3 males (black and white), 1 female (brown)

Over the weekend a number of bird clubs in the VT, NH area were out doing duck censuses on the river areas. Yesterday, we decided to watch the "pond" (which is a dammed up part of a river, which forms a small lake) in front of our house and count waterfowl. The ice was open in some areas but much of the pond was still frozen. We found many ducks in the open water at the edge of the ice, in front of our house. They were quite far away, so only got a distant digiscope of some Ring-necked Ducks. These have a ring ring around the end of their bill, but were named for the (visible in the hand) ring on their neck. Even from a distance, you can tell them by their heads, which are taller than they are deep. The crown is highest at the rear, and they have a steep forehead. To look at ducks at a distance, focus on shape, and, oh yes, having a spotting scope is an immense help. (Note, Eagle Optics is now offering a free tripod when you order our Stokes Sandpiper Spotting Scope).

It was great fun to see their numbers build and change as more ducks came into our pond throughout the day.

Our count:

65 Ring-necked Ducks
8 Buffleheads
10 Common Mergansers
6 Black Ducks
4 Mallards
6 Common Goldeneyes
4 Hooded Mergansers
1 Green-winged Teal
5 Canada Geese

Try and go to water or river areas near you and look for migrating waterfowl. It's prime time.

Photo © Lillian Stokes, 2007

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