At this time of the year the pickings can be pretty slim for birders. Our regular feeder birds do not change much and a walk through the parks or woodlands may produce limited results. One area that will still have birds though is open water, especially along Lake Ontario, Lake Erie and fast flowing rivers.
This is where a number of species of waterfowl spend the winter, sometimes in good numbers. Diving ducks like Scaup, Common Goldeneye and Long-tailed Ducks may be present in flocks on the lower Great Lakes, riding the waves regardless of the weather. They will be joined by mergansers, Redheads and the smaller Bufflehead.
In shallower water along the shore, you can find Mallards, Black Ducks and perhaps some swans. The swans are very large and stand out prominently. The largest species are Trumpeters with the somewhat smaller Tundra Swans at times present in flocks. The Mute Swan, an introduced bird is between these two species in size and can be locally numerous. Adults have a prominent orange bill bordered with black and a black knob on the top.
By Brian Morin
Publisher of Ontario Birding News