Saturday, April 12, 2014
Apr 7, 2014: Erv's Field Notes 64B
Northern Shoveler 4/1/13 (Wolf. Oesterreich)
Monday, April 7, 2014, 2:00 pm.
I parked in the north lot and walked up the trail to Jensen’s Pond. I counted 19 Shoveller ducks, two pair of Mallards and one male Bufflehead. Last year in April, I reported observing Shovellers feeding on the South Lake in large compact groups of 40-50 individuals. Shovellers feed by filtering micro-crustaceans from the surface of the water with their big bills that are adapted for this kind of foraging. It was unusual to see other species that are not adapted for this kind of feeding trying to mimic the Shovellers Today, most of the Shovellers were loafing on the bank or standing on logs at the west end of the pond. Four pairs, each consisting of a male and female, were feeding in the manner I described above but not clumped together. Instead, each pair was swimming in a tight circle about 3 feet in diameter. I watched them for about 30 minutes and they were still feeding when I left.
I saw no dragonflies or painted turtles. The bark on the sumac around the overlook to the east of the pond has been fed on extensively by cottontail rabbits over the winter. I heard and saw Ring-necked Pheasants in the prairie down the hill and Red-winged Blackbirds are staking out territories. As I walked back to the car I spotted an Eared Grebe on the north lake.