Does duck identification leave you cold? If so, join us for a day out in Western North Carolina as we visit several of the area’s lakes and ponds for ducks and other waterfowl. Winter is by far the best time of the year for waterfowl here in WNC and most of the birds should be in their full breeding colors in anticipation of the upcoming breeding season. Males are the most distinctively marked of the sexes and the easiest to identify, but we shall spend time deciphering the cryptic plumages of those look-alike females as well as the tricky domestic waterfowl species. We will also examine their structure, biology and improve our identification skills.
Should the weather be very cold and the lakes begin to freeze over, many of the ducks and geese will move to areas of permanently open water, such as Lake Julian in south Asheville. Some very impressive concentrations of our regularly wintering waterfowl have occurred under these conditions. Our exact itinerary will depend on weather conditions, but we will spend most of our efforts at hotspots in Henderson, Buncombe and Haywood Counties. Species seen varies with each trip, but we hope to see all or a selection of the following: Wood Duck, Mallard, Gadwall, American Wigeon, Green-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, Canada Goose, Bufflehead, Hooded Merganser, Ring-necked Duck, Redhead, Lesser Scaup, and Ruddy Duck. Local rarities have included: Common Goldeneye, Greater Scaup, and Snow, Ross’s and Greater White-fronted Geese.