Coming Soon to a Lake Near You

As soon as the lakes thaw the ducks will be here.  But when will that be?

I was hoping to spend today happily watching ducks but several factors argue against it.

  • My favorite lakes are still frozen according to reports on PABIRDS
  • Pittsburgh’s rivers are flooded, debris-filled and swift.  Fortunately the flood isn’t major, but conditions aren’t good for waterfowl.
  • Yesterday’s rainstorm was windy.  Not a good time for ducks to fly into our area.
  • And it will rain more today, which is unpleasant for me though not for ducks.

I hear there are ducks at Shenango River Lake, 1.5 hours north.  They’re coming soon to a lake near me.  The only question is… When?

Update, 6:00pm:  Well!  I made the trip to Shenango and found ten species of ducks, including green-winged teal and canvasbacks.  There weren’t any buffleheads yet.  Wait until next weekend.

(photo of a male bufflehead by Brian Herman)

6 thoughts on “Coming Soon to a Lake Near You

  1. Hi Kate. Loved the pic of the Bufflehead! We have been hosting a group of buffleheads on a local creek in the middle of town. Jackie who lives by the creek said that there were penguins on the water. We looked them up and found these cute little ducks. On Valentine Day, I was taking her home and on my way past the creek, saw a large black bird weaving over the creek. Then I recognized the white tail and white head of the Bald Eagle!!! It made its way past the high school, dipped out of sight and came back up with a fish!!!. I got very excited then and tried to follow it, but it went out of sight over train tracks. When we read about buffleheads it said that they are favorite food of Eagles but we hope that both can survive here. I know that there are Bald Eagle nests in the Mosquito Reserve and have been spotted at Meander Resevoir. Will the buffleheads raise their young here or continue north? They have been here since early March. I really like your sight, I learn new stuff all the time. Have not been able to get anything new on the Nature Observer WEbsite since January. Hope he gets back up and running soon. Again thanks for all your great info. Kat

  2. Hi Kate,
    Well, I think between warm temps last few days and all this rain, quite a few lakes are starting to open up. Crooked Creek is HIGH!! Beach area is covered all the way to up past the beach houses and the first colorful sign. Lots of Common Mergansers, the juvie eagles are having fun as you saw from my post and today there were a few gulls and 2 Great Blue Herons on the dam wall. Yellow Creek was still frozen on Tuesday, but I believe it’s starting to thaw, too, as Margaret posted a few ducks from yesterday (Sat.). Keystone Reservoir was still frozen yesterday — hope you get out to see some goodies soon. Next week should be pretty good…til’ then, enjoy your peregrines (so nice that Dorothy laid her first egg already)…

  3. Hi Kate,

    Love your blog.

    The birds are singing and I saw several Red Wing Black birds today. Spring is finally coming, yahoo! Last week I saw several Chimmney Swifts. No, I did not see them in the Burgh, I actually saw them in The Dominican Republic. I was there for a week and was wondering before I went down if I would see any migrating birds. Well the swifts were there and are slowly making there way north and I guess will be here in the Burgh in about a month. Oh for some nice sunny spring days.



  4. Last Sun and this, Scott Shalaway wrote in the Sun P-G, how to tell the difference between “puddle ducks” and “diving ducks”. Very informative for a newby like me!

  5. I just saw 13 buffleheads on the Monongahela River at lunchtime today 03/19/2010.
    The location was the riverfront park at the bottom of 18th street, South side, Pittsburgh, PA. The were keeping close together, and if one of them faced upstream they all did. They all went into shore together, they all swam back out together. I think there were 4 females, but it truly was hard to tell. Sincerely, Barb Simon

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