Waterfowl on the Move

The Spring migration has started. Waterfowl are moving north. Any open water body is a magnet to these birds.

Each year, the birds push forward in their migration. They seek areas that have started thawing. My local lake has aerators running throughout the winter to add oxygen to the water. In doing so, a couple of small places within the lake remain ice-free. Artesian springs along or in a water body maintain open water. Streams begin to open up as snowmelt runs off the land.

Sometimes the birds arrive as individuals, sometimes as pairs, and sometimes as large flocks that may or may not contain intermixed species.

The Mallard drake is cupped up as it comes into land. Sony a9 + 100-400mm lens & 2x teleconverter @ 800mm, ISO 1000, f/11, 1/2500. ©Stanley Buman. Artesian Lake.
The Ring-necked Duck drakes have their landing gears down as they prepare for a splash landing. Sony a9 + 100-400mm lens & 1.4x teleconverter @ 560mm, ISO 400, f/8, 1/2000. ©Stanley Buman. Artesian Lake.
A mixed flock is not unusual. Two Northern Pintails are mixed in with three Mallards as they come in for a landing. Sony a9 + 100-400mm lens & 1.4x teleconverter @ 560mm, ISO 800, f/8, 1/2000. ©Stanley Buman. Artesian Lake.
Six species of waterfowl can be seen in this image: Wood Duck, Trumpeter Swans, Mallards, Redheads, Ring-necked Ducks, and Canada Geese. Sony a9 + 100-400mm lens & 2x teleconverter @ 406mm, ISO 1000, f/11, 1/5000. ©Stanley Buman. Artesian Lake.

Now is a great time to go out to your local pond, lake, or wetland and look for waterfowl. I encourage you to really spend time sorting through the flocks to see how many species you can identify. My count for the weekend was 17 species. So, grab your binoculars/scope and bird book and enjoy the adventure.

6 thoughts on “Waterfowl on the Move”

  1. Hi Stan,

    I saw a large flock of Trumpeter Swans today on I 35 North of Story City…..probably 2 dozen. Usually I have seen them in smaller groups

    1. That is a nice sighting Todd. I had 17 swans in front of me last week. One group was on the water when I arrived. Another flock came in about 1 1/2 hours later. It was fun to watch them interacting.

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