My favorite spring duck-watching pond south of Superior Drive in the southeast corner of Northfield was close to ice-free today, and I spotted at least 42 scaup, probably lesser scaup, there about an hour ago, along with five hooded mergansers and some mallards and Canada geese.
The scaup are a week ahead of last year's first sightings (and last year's sightings felt early in comparison with preceding years). With the mild, dry winter we've had this year, though, it's no surprise to have open water this early. I have been hearing many reports of migrating ducks and white-fronted geese down at Wells Lake in Faribault in the past week or two, including this week's blog post by Dan Tallman. Last year we saw several white-fronted geese on March 19 at the Superior Drive pond.
I wasn't close enough to get decent photos today, but this photo of a lesser scaup (I believe it's a lesser, anyway) is one I took last year. It's a handsome duck, isn't it, with its blue bill, golden eye, and striking sections of black and white?
Today I also saw my first two American robins of the season, and yesterday my son spotted our first two red-winged blackbirds of the season.