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Minnesota Nature Wildlife

Waterfowl Migration 2016

There have been LOTS of ducks, geese, swans, grebes, mergansers, teals, and other birds passing through the Twin Cities the last few weeks. This year’s waterfowl migration has come earlier than usual with the mild winter and early ice out. It’s always fun to see birds return in the spring as it’s a sign that winter is about over, but it’s especially fun to see the species that are just passing through on their way further north. We have the luxury of seeing Mallard Ducks, Canada Geese and Trumpeter Swans all summer, but some of the others are just around for a week or two.

Here are a few sightings so far for spring waterfowl migration 2016:

Or if you prefer to look at stills:

Spring Waterfowl Migration

As seen on Lake Harriet, right in the city of Minneapolis:

American Coots
American Coots – their feet remind me of aquatic plants!

 

Gadwall Ducks
Gadwall Ducks

 

Red Breasted Mergansers
Red Breasted Mergansers

 

Horned Grebe
Horned Grebe

Also on Lake Harriet so far this spring, Buffleheads, Northern Shovelers, and a Common Loon that has been eluding my camera lens.

As seen at Hyland Lake in the southern suburb of Bloomington:

Hooded Merganser Pair
Hooded Merganser Pair

 

Ring-Necked Ducks
Ring Necked Ducks

 

Trumpeter Swan Fairytale
Trumpeter Swan

Purgatory Creek in the southwest suburb of Eden Prairie still has LOTS of migrating waterfowl including Ring Necked Ducks and Ring Billed Gulls, but most are so far out in the lake I can’t identify them. Here are a few others:

Northern Shoveler Drake
Northern Shoveler Drake

 

Redhead Ducks
Redhead Ducks

 

Canada Goose in Flight
Canada Goose

Everything is on the move right now, so what you see on the lake one day can be completely different the next. In a couple of months, we’ll be seeing lots of summer babies, so stay tuned!

If you’d like to see more waterfowl or other wildlife photography, please visit my online wildlife gallery 🙂

 

Categories
Minnesota Nature Wildlife

Spring Migration

Winter this year was a bust here in the North Woods, but now it’s mid-March and we’ve gotten off to an early start with spring migration!

Trumpeter Swan Fairytale

Many Trumpeter Swans are back, along with Mallard Ducks and Canada Geese. But one of the best parts of spring for an Outdoor Photographer is getting to see birds that migrate through this area on the way to their summer nesting grounds. They don’t stick around these parts, so catching a glimpse of the various species that are just “passing through” is a thrill! Flocks of hundreds of Tundra Swans have been flying overhead, along with Ring Billed Gulls, Sandhill Cranes, and several species of waterfowl.

I’ve seen a few Hooded Mergansers on the local ponds

Hooded Merganser Pair

as well as some Ring-Necked Ducks.

Ring-Necked Ducks

I’ve only spotted one American Coot so far and am still waiting to see (and hear) Common Loons, Northern Shovelers, Teals, Osprey, and a bunch more that I’m forgetting at the moment. The local lakes have already iced-out here in the Twin Cities, so the spring migration is happening faster and earlier than usual this year.

Some of my favorite spots for watching are near the rivers: Mississippi, Minnesota, and St. Croix. The Three Rivers Parks are also great for seeing wildlife in the metro area. We’ve got some amazing wildlife refuge areas, including the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge right in the Twin Cities. The Bass Ponds area is a local hot-spot for spring migration and we even get lots of visitors on the Chain of Lakes right in Minneapolis.

eBird is a great site for finding hot-spots in your area 🙂

What migrating birds have you seen in your neck of the woods so far this year?