This is my year for migrating waterfowl. I’ve tried to find rafts of interesting ducks, and kin, over the last several years and have never spotted more than an occasional pair.
I’ve three things going for me this year…
2) I’ve a week off of school during Thanksgiving week. This is prime waterfowl migration time. In the past I’ve had this break in mid-late October — beautiful time of year — but the migrant songbirds have left and the waterfowl haven’t begun to move.
3) I’m developing an understanding for why and when waterfowl migrate and how the weather effects this. I’m watching air temperatures to the north (freezing lakes send birds south) and wind direction (birds flying south hate headwinds. A strong wind from the south send them to the water.
I found this tidbit this morning on Notes for the Field, a blog written by a like minded birder in southwestern Ohio.
“One of the things I’m forcing myself to do is study weather maps to help me determine when will be the best time of migrants. For the ducks that are migrating South this time of year they would prefer to travel with a tail wind than a head wind. So as the cold front passes, the low pressure area, with it’s counter-clockwise movement, was bringing the wind out of the North. And with it maybe some ducks.”
I’ve also been reading waterfowl hunting magazines. I enjoy the traditions of great lightweight boats, duck calling, oilcloth field gear and setting decoys. I do have some difficulties with comments about how delicious a roasted wood duck can be with mashed potatoes and carrots.