As fall migration continues, the variety of waterfowl observed throughout the London area increased this past week. In my travels, several species that both pass through and overwinter in the area were recorded on local bodies of water.
Starting in the city on the Thames River, Common Mergansers and Buffleheads were seen in the section of river between Springbank Park and the forks. Mostly individual birds were present, easily distinguished from the resident Mallards and American Black Ducks.
At Fanshawe Lake, two Horned Grebes and a single Red-necked Grebe were visible from the roadway along the dam. Singles of both Greater Scaup and Bufflehead were observed farther out in the lake across from the docks at the rowing club. Further up the lake, two Tundra Swans were present. Looking in the river below the dam revealed several Mallards, but no notable migrants.
The sewage lagoons located in Port Stanley had good numbers of both Bufflehead and Ruddy Ducks in cell number one. A large flock of Bonaparte’s Gulls was seen floating at the far end of the cell, as well as three Tundra Swans. The Bonaparte’s Gulls and Buffleheads will most likely overwinter in the area, while the Ruddy Ducks and Tundra Swans have stopped to rest and feed before carrying on further south to their wintering grounds.
Remembrance Day saw sunny skies and temperatures of sixteen degrees Celsius. After paying my respects to our veterans, I decided to head to Dorchester Mill Pond for an afternoon walk. Present were Canada Geese, a Pied-billed Grebe, Mallards and American Black Ducks. I was also treated to nice views of two Gadwall. The shallow, heavily vegetated pond provides perfect habitat for this species. There is enough current at the south end of Dorchester Mill Pond to prevent it from fully freezing during winter months. It is likely these ducks will spend the winter here, as Gadwalls have overwintered at Dorchester Mill Pond in the past.
With below seasonal temperatures along with west and northwest winds in the forecast for the next week, waterfowl numbers will likely increase further. To better your chances of observing these fall migrants, pay close attention along the Thames River and local ponds, as well as recently harvested farm fields where waterfowl will rest and feed.