Early Spring Ducks

As promised in the previous post on late winter ducks, here’s a look at some ducks that usually arrive a little further into spring: mergansers (Common and Hooded) and Wood Ducks.

To enlarge single photos after the one below, just click the photo.

Hider pays a visit to a brand new nest box
Heron checks out Belmont Ponds and signals an alternative use for the new nest boxes….

But first, a look at some encouraging signs that we may have some of the COGOs with us a bit longer than usual this year. Over the winter, some of the lads who live along the east side of Belmont Pond got together and built three Wood Duck nesting boxes, or at least that was their intent. Such boxes, however, are also used occasionally by cavity nesters such as Buffleheads, Hooded Mergansers and COGOs. Now that the ice is finally off the pond, all of us duck watchers in the neighbourhood are curious to see which species, if any, make use of the new nesting facilities!

Some birds will use them for their own purposes, do doubt….

Among the first to show up in Belmont Pond Main, now that it’s is no longer a ‘hard water reservoir,’ were a pair of COGOs. The young drake below seemed eager to practise his moves before his lady came by:

(NOTE: IN MULTI-PANE ILLUSTRATIONS, JUST CLICK TO ENLARGE!)

Keeping Loverboy company was a pair of Hooded Mergansers.

And this lad was also showing signs of spryness appropriate for springtime shenanigans!

Meanwhile, back at the Fish Pond on the other side of town, where we last watched the Canvasbacks beginning to sense their own need to start preparing for the season, another kind of merganser had found the pond en route to its own rendezvous.

Not one for mixing with the other ducks on the pond, and at this point, the only COME to be seen, he later swam to the south end and pulled up onto the bank for a little sunshine:

Common Merganser drake -
Enjoying the sun on the last day of February 2017.

He stayed around for several more days and was eventually joined by another of his kind:

Mergus merganser, Hall Road Fish Pond, Kelowna, BC.
Common Merganser drake buddies, 170328

On March 23, I found yet another COME, this time in Munson Pond where it’s usually impossible to get a closeup shot. However, because that pond was still frozen except for a narrow channel around the shore, I was able to snag a shot of this guy working along the shoreline from 250 meters away towards me. He didn’t see me until after I had captured his soul. Here he has turned around and retreated from my intrusion….

Common Merganser drake
On his way back to less interaction with Homo sapiens….

Mergansers do nest in the area, and I will cover them again, I’m sure! I can hear some folks asking, “But where are the females?” Well that’s covered in a different post, to some extent, but I will offer this group of shots of a female COME taken in February while there was still a considerable amount of ice on lower Mission Creek. The two genders are getting together as I write this and will stay together until the merganserlings hatch….

Check this out: Wood Ducks return to Belmont Pond!

Wood Duck male - 2.jpg

 

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