Henderson & Buncombe Counties, NC
January 19, 2014
Route: Lake Julian, Lake Osceola, Four Seasons Marsh, Hwy 191 Wastewater Treatment Plant, and Lake Kenilworth
We all met at Lake Julian ready for our annual exploration of the area's lakes and reservoirs in search of wintering waterfowl. Lake Julian is a warm reservoir so does not ever freeze over in the winter. It's also deeper, so can be good for diving ducks. It was a little quiet today with just the regular wintering group of Horned Grebes, so a nice surprise was a male Canvasback that flew in to the center of the lake.
The wastewater plant in Mill's River has been pretty reliable all winter so is a definite stop on our "duck route" across the area. Today it only held 4 individuals, but they were of 3 species- Hooded Merganser, Ring-necked Duck and Redhead. After a nice lunch at the nearby Mill's River Restaurant we hit the highlight of the day as we drove around Lake Osceola in Hendersonville. The far end of the lake was carpeted with waterfowl, including good numbers of Gadwall, Ring-necked Duck and Bufflehead. A large flock of over 20 Green-winged Teal was far more than we normally see here in WNC.
Stopping along Four Seasons is always interesting but it was in the reed-fringed edges that we had our only Northern Shoveler of the day. Thanks to Emilie's participation in the Buncombe Christmas Bird Count we made our last stop at Lake Kenilworth where we had our only Wood Duck of the day and a single American Black Duck.
We finished the day with 11 species of native waterfowl and had a very nice day indeed.
Simon Thompson and Michael Lester