Actually, it’s getting a little past Duck time. Ducks have been migrating through New England for a few months now. The past couple of months I’ve taken trips to Rhode Island and Cape Anne and caught some great glimpses of ducks on their way through to the Artic, Nova Scotia, Canada and Maine.
Common Eiders are our largest sea duck. My brother thinks the ducks resemble a battleship. That makes a flock of them an armada. I saw a lot of these on Cape Anne and Rhode Island. These ducks are always on open ocean. They climb up on rocks as well which I witnessed off the Cliff Walk in Newport RI.
I’ve also seen Common and Red-breasted Mergansers. The Common is a little larger than the Red-breasted. Common Mergansers like deep, clear lakes and rivers while the Red-breasted prefers shallow, sheltered salt water. I’ve seen them in both settings (ocean and fresh water). I’m not an expert but I think this could be due to migration where the Eiders are always on open ocean water.
Common Goldeneyes I’ve seen off of Cape Anne and inland on some local large ponds. They’re beautiful ducks that are distinguished by their dark head and golden eye. According to The Sibley Guide to Birds they nest in tree cavities near ponds and lakes during the summer. To see this you would have to travel to Canada which is their summer home.
During the winter you can see ducks up and down the New England coast. I’ve had a lot of great luck in Rhose Island at a place called Sachuest Point. It’s right next to Second Beach which is a little ways east from Newport.
Just last weekend my brother and I were checking out the local ponds in Westboro and saw thousands of Hooded Mergansers on Lake Chauncy. It was pretty impressive. We also saw a flock of Ring-necked Ducks. These are easily identified by a ring around their beak.
Bird watching is a hobby of mine and spotting ducks is a part of the year-round fun. In the late summer (mid-August) through November you can catch ducks traveling (through New England) south for the Winter. Then starting January through March, catch them again heading north. Of course this isn’t an exact science and you may catch some ducks during off months.
This just gets me psyched for the Spring migration of song birds.