May 28, 2023

North Pond in Greenwood Hosts Unusual Gathering of Ducks

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Staff writer and outdoor enthusiast, A. Sayward Lamb, lives most of the year at his cottage on North Pond in Greenwood, Maine. He sent me an e-mail this morning about a sighting he viewed in front of his cottage. Curiousity got to him, so he fired off an e-mail to Wendy at the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife in hopes for some feedback.

Below is a copy of the e-mail Sayward send to MDIF&W.

Dear Wendy; While eating breakfast this morning I looked out on to North Pond, in Woodstock ,and saw a large flock of ducks. I got out my binoculars and counted 68 of them swimming together. If it were earlier in the Spring I would have thought they were flight birds coming in to rest on the pond. However, seeing that many ducks together tthis late in the Spring  has me puzzled. I saw them flying down the lake in a southerly direction a few minutes ago. I cannot see the whole area of the pond from our cottage, so don’t know if they left or not. These birds were quite large, and all I saw was black or dark brown coloration. The stayed out in the middle of the pond, I did not see any of them diving below the surface. They simply moved slowly up and down the pond in one or two rafts. Maybe you have an ornothologist who might have some ideas of what type of duck they may be? Thanks, Sayward Lamb  

Wendy forwarded Sayward’s inquiry on to Michael Schummer, wildlife biologist with the Department of Inland Fisheries and Game. Here is his reponse.

Dear Sayward,
Thank you for your inquiry…very interesting observation.  We actually have had a few similar reports in the past few days.  Seaducks such as Eiders, Scoters, and Long-tailed Ducks often do overland flights on their way north towards Hudson Bay and/or the St. Lawrence Estuary.  When they encounter harsh weather or a stiff north wind that they can not fly into they often drop out into lakes in northern Maine.  It is most likely that you saw either Black, White-winged, or Surf Scoters.  Possibly all three mixed together.  Thank you for your observation.
best wishes–
Michael Schummer, Ph.D., Wildlife Biologist
Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife
Wildlife Resource Assessment Section
650 State Street
Bangor, Maine 04401-5654
Phone: (207)-941-4474
Fax: (207)-941-4450