Sunday, March 23, 2008

Magee Marsh waterfowl March 23

On Easter afternoon, despite the surrounding snowy conditions, almost all the ice was melted off of Magee Marsh. The Wildlife Area here protects a very large acreage, only a small percentage of which is readily visible from the causeway. But the open water that I could see this afternoon held at least 1200 ducks of 17 species. A telescope is useful here, and some of the more distant ducks to the east would not have been identifiable without one. But the area should be good for a variety of ducks for at least the next month. At the end of the road (Crane Creek beach), Lake Erie is still ice-covered for at least half a mile out, but when the ice melts or is moved offshore by wind, the lake should be good for rafts of diving ducks through the end of April.

There were hundreds of Tundra Swans at Magee this afternoon (out of the thousands that are currently present in the general area), mostly some distance away to the east of the causeway. A few Trumpeter Swans are there as well. As a general rule, the swans that sit unconcernedly near the road at Magee (and on the Ottawa entrance road) are Trumpeters, as the Tundras that migrate through here tend to be slightly more wary.

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