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Arizona ducks in summer

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Old Tuesday 23rd June 2015, 02:30   #1
arofan.gregory
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Arizona ducks in summer

I went to the Sweetwater Wetlands after work today, and saw eight ducks which, from their long bills and red legs I identified as Northern Shovellers. As I understand it, these ducks are not typically here in the summer. Also, in the hearby Silverbell Lake, I saw what I think was a Canvasback, in with a mixed flock of ducks - another one which seems out-of-season to me. Do we have populations of ducks which remain resident, or which migrate at odd times of year in SE Arizona?

It may be that I am just a bit ignorant about migration patterns (I have never birded in a place this far south before...). If you can help explain this, I would greatly appreciate it!
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Old Tuesday 23rd June 2015, 15:14   #2
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First off, there's more characteristic things to identify shovelers by, but that's okay (from your description I'd hesitate to call them shovelers just yet).

Secondly, ducks, and some other species will sometimes skip migration when they're unfit to breed. i.g. have an injury, sickness, etc. Checking eBird, it looks like some stay the summer at Sweetwater regularly. This year people have only reported one bird but it's quite possible there are more.

I'm not sure what the status of Canvasback in AZ is, so I can't really help in that department.
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Old Thursday 2nd July 2015, 05:42   #3
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Honestly, I am not too solid on the id of the shovellers. But it does seem like some of the local ducks do not migrate. Your explanation makes some sense. There is a regular group trip to Sweetwater with a local expert - probably best to get some expert guidance. Cheers!
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Old Saturday 4th July 2015, 05:17   #4
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There are about 50 American Widgeons that spend the winter at the Road Runner Park city pond in north Phoenix. They are usually all gone by the end of April. Last summer was an exception where one male remained the whole summer. I was still spotting him in the early fall before the others made their annual return. I guess he did not want any more heat this summer because all the Widgeons were gone from the park by the end of April this year. I have wondered why that little guy did not make the trip north last year.

There are also about 10 Canada Geese that I will see at the same park in the summer. They do move around and will be there for a few days, disappear, then return. Someone told me that hold over geese are becoming more common.

Attached is a photo of my Widgeon buddy taken June 21, 2014. He was already starting to go into a eclipse plumage and it continued into the summer.
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Old Monday 27th July 2015, 15:51   #5
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Ring-necked Duck Hold Over

Last year I found a lone American Widgeon hold over at one of the Phoenix city parks (as posted above). This weekend I found a lone Ring-necked duck that failed to leave with the rest.

This picture was taken yesterday (July 26, 2015) at Granada Park in north central Phoenix. The other ducks were Mallards, hybrids, and domestic geese.
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