Friday, January 29, 2016

Upriver Ducks

More ducks have been showing up on the St. Clair River lately.  However, they are virtually all Redhead!  In any given winter, Redhead is usually the most common duck on the river anyway, but others have failed to show in any number. There have been quite a few pure rafts of Redhead recently, numbering in the thousands.  A few other ducks are scattered about such as Common Goldeneye, Bufflehead, Common Merganser, and the odd scaup.  Virtually no Canvasbacks!  One wonders where they are since the St. Clair River is one of the premier wintering spots.

Scene to off Cundick Park looking downriver

The last couple of days, I have been heading upriver north of Sombra after work, to see what is around.
The Sombra area has been good, and Cundick Park north of the village is a good spot to stop and look.

Late yesterday, a few other species were mixed in with the Redhead.  I had no camera and only binoculars.  At one point I picked out something odd, but it appeared to be a Redhead with lots of white on the head.  I saw the same bird again today off Stoke's Point.

Yesterday, just before dark, I briefly stopped at the McKeough Outlet park to make up a list.  I noticed something across the cut at the edge of the phragmites.  It turned out to be a Pied-billed Grebe!  Not something we usually see this time of year on the big river.  One was at Cathcart Park back in early January, so perhaps it is the same individual.

Tomorrow, the Sydenham Field Naturalists group is taking a look at the river.  It has been a long time since the group has gone out to the river on a field trip.  Back in the early days, it was an annual event at this time of year, and it was always something to look forward to.
Perhaps the outing could be called Upriver Ducks, not to be confused with Lambton Wildlife's Downriver Ducks (February 7) led by 'Uncle Paul'!


  1. I presume the grebe was NOT an adult in breeding plumage? If it was, it could be an early spring migrant. I am expecting some spring migrants to appear at Point Pelee on January 31st, since it is predicted to be +7 C. on that day.

    1. It was too far away and too late in the day to tell, but undoubtedly a Pied-billed and most likely non-breeding.