Monday, February 06, 2012

Where are the waterfowl?

Franklintown gamelands
Flat light and overcast skies in the never-ending November that passes for the 2012 winter does not make for interesting photos.  I decided to go birding instead and didn't find much.  Nor did I find much last weekend, and it got me to thinking about why that might be.

In a normal winter, the ponds and lakes are mostly all frozen over.  Over the years, I've found a few spring-fed ponds that stay usually stay open for at least the majority of the winter.  The Susquehanna River often freezes, too, though a few channels and other spots sometimes don't.  Wintering waterfowl congregates on those spring-fed ponds and open sections of the river.  This year, all the ponds, streams, lakes and rivers are entirely ice-free. 

And guess what?  I couldn't find a duck anywhere.  So what's going on? First off, there's simply no need for waterfowl to congregate this year. They can go wherever they want to and find open water. The normal hot spots aren't the only game in town this year.

That said, I still expected to find a few, other than the ubiquitous resident Canada geese, here and there, a couple on this pond, several on that lake.  I didn't find that.  I didn't find any ducks at all.  Even though the birds aren't forced onto on a few open ponds and spots on the river rivers, I would have guessed they'd still be around, just spread out all over the place instead of in just a few spots. That does not seem to be the case, at least not here in southern Pennsylvania.  They simply don't seem to be in my vicinity.  So where are they?  Did they migrate at all?  Are they all down on the Chesapeake Bay having a big conference?  Are they hanging out in your area?  About all I'm sure of is that they aren't  in northern York County.  So, are the wintering waterfowl in your area?  (And if so, can I come visit??)


Cathy said...

They are playing hide and seek with you!

But have no idea where they are? Come to think of it, I haven't seen any geese up here either . Maybe aliens took them ? That 's sounds plausible

Pablo said...

I've seen small flocks of Canada geese cropping the lawns around office parks here in KC, but most places like that also keep small lakes with fountains, so they have open water all winter.