The summer of 2012 here saw lots of Whistling ducks using the wetlands area. Many dozens of these crimson beaked ducks hung around for almost 3 months and were a lot of fun to watch. Unlike most wild ducks, the Whistlers seemed unafraid of us on our walks through the wetlands with our dogs and are not camera shy. Most birds seem somewhat unafraid of me until I point the camera at them – then they blast off like a bottle rocket!
This year, we’ve seen just a few of these ducks in the wetlands – until about two weeks ago. Now we’ve got about a dozen Whistlers that have installed themselves here and enjoying the water deposited into the wetlands by recent rains.
We’ve learned that these birds are only recent visitors here. Recent warming has brought them further north than usual with the first sightings of which I’m aware made in the early 2000’s. Maybe the cooler spring we had this year kept them a bit south a bit longer. Whatever is going on, we’re glad to finally see them here and will certainly enjoy them until they leave for their winter home in central America.