Starting in mid-December, Buchanan Lake seems to draw in many diving ducks
just after sunset, presumably to roost together in safety through the night.
Our prolonged cold spell has frozen many ponds over including most of
Buchanan Lake. In the center of the lake, a 50 yard oval remains open as well as a
similar sized area along the north shore. I decided to stop by Buchanan this
evening to see if divers were still coming in to roost.
As I drove past the lake at 4:15 or so, 40 or 50 Geese were in the open
water or standing on the ice. I parked and walked the path, arriving across from
the oval at 4:35. Only one of the Canada Geese remained with 3 Northern
Pintails (not a bird I find there frequently), two Common Goldeneyes and one
My peak count for Goldeneye was at 4:55: Common 83, Barrow's 8.
At 5:20, Hooded Mergansers peaked at 27 in the oval with another 25 along
the north shore in the company of 52 Canada Geese. The three Pintails were
joined by one Common Merganser in the oval.
Observations in the past have hinted that divers continue to arrive after
twilight but darkness precludes identification of species.
I'm wondering if the oval is kept from freezing by the swimming action of
several hundred ducks during the night.
On another note, the Band-tailed Pigeon John found Monday was perched atop a
snag spire along I-82 just north of Exit 36 this afternoon. Nice scope
views were available from the Poppoff Trail for over an hour after I noticed it
around 2 o'clock.
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