Trip Report


Mandarin-Duck by Simon Thompson




‘Duck ID Day
Henderson, Buncombe &
Transylvania Counties, NC

January 25, 2015




    As with most of our Duck Day Ventures, we met at the Asheville Wild Birds Unlimited store where we could leave some of our cars and head towards our first birding spot. Lake Julian is a deep, fairly nutrient-poor lake but depending on the weather, can attract good species. Aside from a few Horned Grebes and a pair of Bufflehead there was not much today. The usual gang of domestic geese wanted to be fed and the long-staying Egyptian Goose was always nice to see- even though he could barely stay awake!Bufflehead

    Our second stop was the Mills River WWTP where the Greater Scaup (another bird which had been around a few days) was asleep with a flock of Canada Geese. Lake Osceola has been one of the best places for waterfowl this winter and especially so due to repair on the dam and low water levels. Large quantities of aquatic weed have been closer to the surface and the duck numbers have increased. Highlights had to be the flock of Redhead with their accompanying American Wigeon, at least 15 Green-winged Teal and many, many Gadwall- all allowing great views. A brief stop along the road adjacent to Four Seasons Marsh allowed us to add Northern Shoveler and Wood Duck, although the birds here were very skittish compared to those on Lake Osceola.
 Mallard Flock. by Simon Thompson   

    After a good lunch at the Mills River Restaurant our last stop was at Lake Susan in Montreat. The “Bird of the Month” Has to be the Mandarin Duck and this lake is almost a sure-fire spot to find this introduced species, Despite the fact that they are not truly “countable”, Mandarins have been breeding around Black Mountain for about 25 years, although the population is still very small. There were 3 males present allowing for some great photography.
We finished the day with 15 species of waterfowl, including the 2 introduced species- a great day.

Simon Thompson