The warm weather this weekend put me in the mood to go birding. The sleek Sharp-shinned Hawk that flew over my building motivated me to act on that mood. So Mason and I stopped at Crestwood Lake while running errands. This site is always good for freshwater ducks in season, and if my mounting anxiety over the coming holidays is any indication, that season is now.

The dominant duck on the lake was, not surprisingly, Mallard. However, Green-winged Teal came in a close second. These sensational little squeakers winter at Crestwood Lake, sometimes even joined by a Eurasian cousin. I love green-winged teals, particularly the males with their rich russet and hunter facial plumage and silvery flanks. But hen and drake alike impress when those trademark speculums flash emerald in the sun.

Mallards and teals weren’t the only waterfowl around. Hooded Mergansers have indubitably arrived, their bold black, white, and chestnut markings a sight for sore eyes. Wood Duck males were also in brilliant, just-this-side-of-gaudy display. I even spied a solo Ruddy Duck dame as well as plenty of Canada Geese and a Mute Swan or two.

Of course, Crestwood Lake sheltered more than just divers and dabblers. A stolid Great Blue Heron anchored one end of the lake while a more ebullient Belted Kingfisher lorded over the other. Blue jays, robins, and grackles are massing, presumably deciding which lucky ones get to leave for warmer climes. American Crows also appear to be flocking in impressive numbers. These are all expected sightings. What I didn’t anticipate were the Killdeer still working this stretch of the Bronx River. I thought for sure they’d have flown by now, but apparently the three shorebirds screaming “Killdee, killdee, killdee” were perfectly content to hang around for a superb fall weekend.

Mallards, teals, mergansers, kingfishers… better get used to this trip list because you’ll be hearing it a lot for the five months!

Green-winged Teal
Written by Mike
Mike is a leading authority in the field of standardized test preparation, but he's also a traveler who fully expects to see every bird in the world. Besides founding 10,000 Birds in 2003, Mike has also created a number of other entertaining but now extirpated nature blog resources, particularly the Nature Blog Network and I and the Bird.