It was dusk on Friday night when I first saw them. We were driving across the causeway on the Briscoe Reservoir on Beaverdam Creek in Walton County. The ducks were close to the causeway. There was something different about them. All I could really see was that the heads were and ‘odd’ shape and some had a light vertical stripe on the shoulder. I researched them and came to the conclusion that they were Ring-necked ducks (Aythya collaris). But I couldn’t see the white extending along the body in the poor light.
I went back the following Monday on the off-chance that they might still be in the same area. And they were there. There were probably a hundred-plus ducks. They area nervous. When I stopped on the causeway – and I’ve stopped several times now – they turned and swam away to the north.
And closer still…
And then they flew off to the north shore by the woods. They weren't going to pose for close-ups.
I wouldn’t have taken any notice of these ducks except that they were close enough to identify. We frequently see ducks congregating in this relatively sheltered area north of the causeway. I suspect now that they were Ring-necked ducks that may spend some time here every year. In the future I’ll be taking more notice during the fall and winter to see if they actually over winter on the reservoir.
Last Saturday night (2/27/2010) we drove over the causeway. Only one small group of six to eight ducks were resting near the causeway. The rest were gone. Today, Monday 3/1/2010, all had left.
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- The Cornell Institute of Ornithology: Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collaris)