(Another non-frog blog for the adults. My title comes from F. W. Harvey’s poem Ducks, written in 1919 just after World War I. It fits my mood.)
“From troubles of the world
I turn to ducks,
Beautiful comical things..”
In the spring the ducks and geese fly back north.
Some stop in Maine to breed, but some keep going. En route, they rest, so we see species for a short time that we don’t see in the summer or the winter. This bar chart tells me when each species is typically seen where I live, and you can see that some ducks stick around, and some come and go:
They will rest on small ponds, like my secluded beaver pond:
The transients include Common Goldeneye, and Ring-necked Ducks. I am not often here at this time of year, so I have been delighted to see these ducks on my pond. I can’t get close, they are skittish, and the shoreline is marshy so they stay out in open water. Here is a Common Goldeneye
Common Goldeneyes mainly breed in Canada and Alaska, where they nest in tree cavities. They often winter over on the Gulf or Pacific coasts, along with other Canadians (who are often appropriately referred to as Snowbirds). They eat mainly fish and invertebrates, and a little vegetation.
Below are two different male Ring-necked Ducks, which I find charmingly clownish with their striped beaks. They remind me irresistibly of rubber duckies.
In the first photo you just see the neck-ring:
They eat submerged vegetation, and invertebrates, and they nest amongst the low marshy bushes and plants. They mainly breed further north, but I still have two pairs of on May 7th, and they do occasionally nest here, so maybe I’ll get lucky and they will stay.
Another time, I’ll show you some of the ones that routinely stay and breed including Common Mergansers, Hooded Mergansers, Wood Ducks, American Black Ducks (and Mallards and Canada Geese).