Henderson, Buncombe &
Haywood Counties, NC
January 27, 2013
Route: Lake Julian, Lake Osceola,
Four Seasons Marsh,
Hwy 191 Wastewater Treatment Plant,
South Mills River Road and Lake Junaluska
Thankfully our Duck Day this year was not as icy as in previous years and the morning with the winter sunshine shining on the ducks on Lake Osceola was a beautiful sight. We started the day with a visit to Lake Julian. Unfortunately the immature Bald Eagle which had been present a few days ago was not around this morning. The early morning scullers were already out and their activities are guaranteed to flush any waterfowl that may have flown in the previous night. A small flock of Hooded Mergansers and Redhead soon flew over us as they were disturbed from the lake, but 2 Horned Grebes did not seem to take any notice of the boats.
Lake Osceola in Hendersonville was our next stop and was certainly the best birding location that day. A big flock of Gadwall was feeding out in the center of the lake and attracted American Wigeon, Hooded Merganser and Ring-necked Duck. There must have been some good food under the surface. After lunch at our regular spot - the Mills River restaurant, we made the trip up to Lake Junaluska, which can be excellent during cold weather. Unfortunately the weather clouded over making it a little chilly and subduing the ducks colors. We did find a couple of Lesser Scaup and a nice flock of Ruddy Ducks, with a few males starting to get a hint of their sparkling breeding colors. We finished the day 11 species of native ducks and geese – not bad for the NC Mountains.