Winter at the Lake...

During my Christmas break I have been spending sometime at a location in the east end of St.John’s, Newfoundland called Quidi Vidi Lake photographing waterfowl. (iPhone image of the lake shown below)

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This location is a major hot spot for birds on the Avalon especially during winter. As temperatures drop and other local ponds and smaller lakes freeze many of our waterfowl are forced to head to Quidi Vidi making it an ideal location to see and photography some otherwise difficult species. It also allows you to get a low profile at the waters edge which, for all of you that follow me, know it is my favorite shooting position. (iPhone image of my ground pod aka “frying pan” setup at the lake)

So I thought it would be a nice idea to share some of my recent images and to talk about the various species that can often be seen in the area. In this post I will only be focusing on waterfowl but trust me this lake has a lot more to offer.

I will start off with one of the highlight waterfowl species at the lake during the winter which is the Tufted Duck. These diving ducks were rarely seen on the island but in recent years their population has grown to 70+ during the winter months. Being one of the only reliable places in North America to see and photography these unique looking ducks I always make time for them. Seen below is a portrait of a male Tufted Duck showing off its great hairdo.

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Below is a female Tufted Duck and one of my favorite images of the female taken a few years ago at the lake.

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Tufted ducks are not the only divers present. We also get a good number of Greater Scaup as well. Below is a Male Greater Scaup taken in some early morning magical light.

followed by a portrait of the drake Greater Scaup

and we cant leave out the female in some gorgeous light as well

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We also get the occasional Lesser Scaup which I have yet to photograph.

Ring-necked Ducks show up at the lake also but typically there is only a single male and or female that appear. The image seen below is of a male performing his courtship ritual by throwing its head backwards.

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The above image was taken a few years back as this year unfortunately we have not been grazed with the presence of a male Ring-necked Duck..but as a trade off we do have a Ringed-necked Duck x Lesser Scaup Hybrid shown below which I photographed a few days ago. Notice the lack of rings on the bill which is a key feature of a regular Ring-necked duck.

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As mentioned we often get one female Ring-necked duck as well. Shown below:

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The occasional American and Eurasian wigeon can be spotted at the lake too. Shown below is a male American Wigeon.

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Though commonly found along the shores of Newfoundland we do get sightings of Common Mergansers at the lake. They are very skittish birds so when this small group of 4 Mergansers decided to swing straight to me a few years back I was thrilled with the encounter.

Here is a portrait of the female Common Merganser from that encounter

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and the drake Common Merganser

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The lake is also home to many common species to the island like Mallards, Black Ducks and of course the always stunning Northern Pintail.

Of course like many locations there have been rare (to Newfoundland) duck sightings as well like Wood Ducks, Gadwalls, Northern Shovelers, Ruddy Ducks and so on through out the years.

All in all Quidi Vidi lake as a lot to offer in terms of waterfowl and to be honest that is only the tip of the iceberg in what this location has produced in terms of amazing bird sightings like Ivory Gulls, Gyrfalcons, and Peregrine Falcons to name a few. In a future post I may show some of the other species I have been fortunate enough to enjoy and photography at the lake.

For those of that have not yet subscribed to my Newsletter I invite you to do so as I include bonus photograph tips in my email and also any upcoming deals on my eBook. It is also a great way to be notified when new content is posted. Thanks again for all of you that take the time to read my blog post and I wish you all an amazing 2019..its going to be a great year :)