Mallards On Open River

The River Is Open

Over the last few months many of the articles here revolved around the frozen Connecticut river. At times this year the river bed was like a highway. I photographed coyotes, eagles, and numerous other animals all along the river stretching from Hartford south to the shore.

Now, mid March, the river is officially open. So far no floods, a few ice jams, but nothing of concern yet. To the north I’m sure much of the Connecticut river is still iced over. We may still have an adventure or two.

IMG_7475Once the river opens a entirely new group of residents come back.

Ring Necked Duck
Ring Necked Duck

Ring Necks did better than most ducks during the period of hunting for feathers in the 1800s. In New England, especially Connecticut, hats were a big business. Think the Stetson cow boy hat. Made down the road, not anywhere near the wild west.  While other birds were hunted to near extinction Ring Necks did fine. They don’t gather in large flocks and stay in the rivers away from all the shore birds, and people.

Loons are usually associated with Maine. Not in the winter. They move down the rivers following the freeze. Finally they stay around the salt water inlets until spring. They also have a complete new ‘look’ in winter.

Common Loon
Common Loon

The first time you see the small Horned Grebe there is a shock. They are not wounded, just have weird eyes.

Like the Grebe, a Red Breasted Merganser will dive and stay submerged on the bottom for long periods of time. We have several different types of Mergansers but the Red Breasted seems to be the most prevalent this year.

Red Breasted Merganser
Red Breasted Merganser
Red Breasted Merganser
Red Breasted Merganser

I haven’t included any geese or mallards since they appear everywhere and I have a series to be written that prominently feature them as photography examples anyway.

Oh, and there is another important item related to the rivers opening. The mud has arrived.