A new wave of migratory ducks landed at the St. Paul reservoir this past weekend. A long raft of Hooded Mergansers, Common Goldeneye, and Ring-necked Ducks floated out in the middle of the lake, which is now frozen from shore to about 30-50 feet out.
Even in the 300 yard long raft of floating ducks, each species stuck together in tight groups, which made ID-ing them easier.
But as I walked along the shoreline (getting very chilled in the icy breeze), I spied a couple of ducks swimming away from me, and was sure that I had spotted another species I hadn’t previously seen on the lake.
Compare with this photo taken by another birder of a real Redhead Duck.
A few other bird enthusiasts have reported (eBird checklist) the numbers of each species they have seen on this lake in the past couple of days. One person estimated he saw: 20 Canada Geese, 16 Trumpeter Swans, 300 Mallards, 15 Canvasback, 600 Ring-necked Ducks, 60 Common Goldeneye, 70 Hooded Mergansers, among 20 other species seen in just 1.5 hours. Yes, it did seem like there were 1000+ birds on the lake.
With the lakes icing up now, this is probably the last wave of migrants we’ll see until spring… sigh.