Ducks in the City

Duck season ~ I really do love duck season.

There is just something silly and fun about these diving and dabbling feathered friends that play and swim in the frozen waters. The season is just beginning for me and this time of year one of my usual duck spots is smack dab in the center of the Nation’s capital. However, due to the arctic blast we’ve had the past several weeks, all of the ponds along the Washington Mall and the Potomac River have completely frozen over. As a result, all of the ducks have flown off to parts unknown in search of open water.

I drove all along the Potomac River on Thursday in search of ducks for my Wintering Waterfowl photography class that was today with no luck. With good fortune however, many of the class participants were willing to drive to another location near Columbia, Maryland.

Columbia, Maryland is a planned community that built a good number of lakes for recreation and some of them are stocked with fish during the warmer months. Centennial Lake is a 52 acre lake that is subject to freezing over as many of these other lakes have, but not completely. As a result, the geese and ducks find respite in the waters.

Along with 2,000 of his Canada goose friends a waywardly lost rare goose has been seen at this lake for the past few weeks. A Greater White-fronted Goose is usually only seen in the winter months west of the Mississippi.

It’s great for bird photography here as there waterfowl are used to lots of walkers, runners and even dogs that wish they too could go duck hunting. The open water that remains reduces the area where the waterfowl are located and are close to land and easily accessible. Following my class I opted to remain for a while as I wasn’t quite frozen enough and spent some time capturing the diving ducks. Such a wonderful time.

9 replies »

  1. How in the world do ducks know where the water is open?!
    The pond behind my house has been frozen: no ducks.
    Yesterday there were ducks!

  2. How in the world do ducks know where the water is open?!
    The pond behind my house has been frozen: no ducks.
    Yesterday there were ducks!

  3. What a wonderful collection of ducks! Some of them I’ve never heard of.
    I must say I don’t envy you in those long prolonged freezing temperatures. I am pretty sure I would not survive. You are a very brave lady indeed, Emily. 👍

  4. Simply ducky! Stunning photos. I once lived on a bog pond in north Idaho and love watching the migration. Some of the diving ducks would stay and nest. Your photo of the ring-neck male is so sharp you can see where the breed gets its name.

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