Wildlife Corner

Musings by Jim

Jim McCann, Douglaston’s resident nature observer, regularly writes a Wildlife Corner for the DMEA Newsletter. His most recent Musings have been about local water fowl:

I figured I’d tell everyone how healthy our little Udall’s cove is to spread the word. I have counted 14 different species of waterfowl in our cove. Those large black ducks out there walking about in the mud are called BLACK DUCKS (not exactly an original name, but they are black ducks). About a decade ago, there was a lack of food during a brutal winter and we lost all but five of them. Today, they have rallied and there must be close to 100.

The other important rebound involves the larger of the black and white ducks. They are called BROADBILL DUCKS. About 20 years ago, there were 100,000 in Little Neck Bay. In recent years, their population declined to zero. Then this autumn, 20 showed up, sent the word out that there was plentiful food, and now we have 40-70.

The little black and white ducks , Cindy’s favorite, are called BUFFELHEAD DUCKS. We used to have 5-10, but now the cove is filthy with them. Black ducks are waders and enjoy eating mussels, but all the others are diving ducks and enjoy chasing BAY ANCHOVIES. Our cove is a bad place to be a bay anchovy since everyone is trying to snack on them.

Now my favorites are what the casual observer would call CANADA GEESE but indeed they are not actually Canada geese. At first glance, they look very similar, but are actually smaller with similar plumage. They are called BRANT DUCKS. We used to see them in the late fall down on Great South Bay when we would go fishing for Stripe Bass during the Fall Bass Run. Not many, but they were there. Today, there are tens of thousands of them in Great South Bay. Several years ago, I noticed there were 10-20 up here along our shoreline. Now that number is well over 100.

As spring approaches, everyone should be on the lookout for the 2 GOLDEN EAGLES I sighted several weeks ago. Can’t count on them returning, but you never know.

All good stuff going on here in our bay…