Bufflehead are one of the most numerous ducks within 'shooting' distance at Erieau these days.
Yesterday, I was on a grand tour ranging from southern Lambton County, then to Rondeau and eventually ending up at Erieau. I purposely left Erieau until later in the day, since by 3 or 4 p.m., the commercial fishing tug and associated activity is over for the day, leaving the waterfront along the channel as well as where the fish tugs are moored, very quiet and the water birds have relatively free reign over the area. Another bonus is that when the sun is out (not often these past few days!) the angle of light is much better later in the day.
I initially checked the channel, but only saw Bufflehead. I then moved a bit farther towards the lake so I could scan the lake side of the far rocks. Almost immediately I saw a male diving in the relative calm of the lake. I looked for the female, and a few minutes later saw another Harlequin a short distance away...but it was a male as well. Did the first bird just dive and swim farther away than I expected...but no, it was a second young male! And the female was in the area as well!
A little later Steve Charbonneau arrived, and I told him we had three Harlequins, and sure enough, they were all still there, although still a long way off for the kind of photo we hoped for.
The last time anyone had this many Harlequin Ducks in the Rondeau checklist area was way back on May 17, 1960, when 8 birds were seen at Erieau. That was at a time when the overall population was healthier than it has been for a few decades.
The Willet which I found on April 8 is still there, but now it seems to spend all of its time on the tip of the south beach of Rondeau across the channel, affording only distant views and photo ops.
|Photo of April 8|
|Photo of April 12|
|Red-breasted Merganser female|