Henderson, Buncombe & Haywood Counties, NC
February 6 2011
Route: Lake Julian, North Rugby Road, Four Seasons Marsh, Lake Osceola, Crooked Creek GC, Blue Ridge Technical College, Lake Junaluska
After watching the weather forecast for the past week, it soon became obvious that Sunday (our planned Duck Day) was going to be beautiful. Normally it snows, sleets or hails on our regularly scheduled waterfowl excursion! As we always start at the Wild Birds Unlimited store we started our day checking Lake Julian- well this year the lake produced virtually nothing except a few Mallard and Canada Geese. A stop on North Rugby Road in Henderson County produced in flight views of the wintering Rough-legged Hawk (yes, I know it's not a duck, but it's a great bird for WNC) The water level in Four Seasons Marsh was very high and there were not that many ducks present. However, a pair of Northern Shoveler and 5 Wood Duck were a real pleasure to see. Duck numbers were also down on Lake Osceola, but a female Hooded Merganser offered us some very nice views without too much diving on her part. 3 males Hooded Mergs on the lake at Blue Ridge Tech were striking as they swam around with their crests in full sail. Thanks to some updated information from some friends we finished the day at Lake Junaluska where 4 Canvasback and 30+ Ruddy Ducks topped the list of ducks and made for a perfect end to a truly beautiful winter day.