A Great Day Birding On Cambridge Creek

When the Bald Eagle landed on our community’s Osprey nest platform a few days ago (post here), it was just the beginning of a surprising great day of birding on Cambridge Creek right from my balcony.  It was mostly a cloudy day, but I lucked out with some peeks of sun here and there.

Eleven species total!  I don’t think I’ve seen this many species on just one day here on the creek.  With lots of mingling, sleeping, preening, diving, and following each other around, it was a delight to just watch the action.  Eventually, each specie (except the Ring-billed Gull) ventured close for some nice shots to share.  I twiddled my images down to no more than a couple close-ups for each specie and a few ‘crowd mingling’ extras.

We’ve been recently hosting about 10-20 Lesser Scaup on the creek daily.  That morning after the Bald Eagle departed, we had two flocks totaling over 100 Lesser Scaup fly in joining our daily group.  Two shots here showing most of them.

Lesser Scaup on Cambridge Creek


          Lesser Scaup (4 males, 1 female)                                    Lesser Scaup (male & female)


I noticed two different ducks mixed in with the flocks.  One was a male Canvasback.  He was very skittish with the surroundings and stayed close to the Lesser Scaup most of the time.

            Canvasback (male)                                         Canvasback & Lesser Scaup (both males)


The other was this lovely surprise, a male Long-tailed Duck.  He seemed shy to the others but tried a few times to be included in the group, following along.

Long-tailed Duck (male)


I was pretty excited with the Long-tailed Duck.  I had only captured them once prior in flight, so he was a awesome treat.

All this duck ruckus got the curiosity of our creek’s winter water residents who ventured to the party to hang out as well.


Ruddy Duck (male)                                                    Ruddy Ducks


Pied-billed Grebe


Mallard (male)                                                      Herring Gull


The Common Goldeneye wanted to be left alone and kept trying to get away from the crowds.


Common Goldeneye (male)


Even Cassie, the injured Canvasback, showed up.  But she, too, kept away and to herself.  I was hoping the male Canvasback would take notice of Cassie, but I never saw them two mingled.  Oh wait…come to think of it, both of them did disappear a little later.  Hmmmm…..  😉

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“Cassie” Canvasback (female)


A flock of seven Canada Geese appeared to be making an effort to fly into the creek but aborted, I’m guessing because it was too crowded and no open space.  They continued on to find another location to land.

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Canada Geese


As mentioned, there was a lot of mingling.  Everyone got along, and we all know there is safety in numbers!



As is usually the case with flocks, when a few get the itch to leave, the rest will follow.  Most of the ducks were gone by the afternoon.


Lesser Scaup taking flight


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Lesser Scaup heading down the creek


Only a couple dozen Lesser Scaup and seven Ruddy Ducks remained late that day, as well as our other winter residents who went back into hiding within the marina piers and bulkheads.

It was quiet the next few days, basically back to normal.  And then during the last several days of rain, sleet, and wind, a large number of Lesser Scaup have returned, to take refuge from the weather.  Hopefully they will stick around for a while, even if just to watch them.


39 thoughts on “A Great Day Birding On Cambridge Creek

  1. Beautiful gallery of ducks and geese! You have plenty of bird species in transit, this gives you the great opportunity of exercising your photographic skills and have fresh material for your blog at all times. Thank you for your post Donna. 🙂

  2. Wow! Why leave home when you have this right in your ‘back yard’! Like you, we have had a lot of canvasbacks and scaups mixing together in our cove. Looking at your pictures I’m guessing ours are also lesser scaups. Lucky you to have the long tailed ducks and common goldeneye – and great pictures of all!

    • Thank you, Susan! I know you have an awesome ‘back yard’ too, and you never know what/who’s going to visit. Such a treat! I’m going to email you a Scaup comparison chart, it’s the best I’ve found that has helped me ID scaup, whether Greater or Lesser.

  3. Nice captures. I love watching ducks or geese land and take off in the water. You might want to recount that flock of Canada geese. 🙂

  4. Simply marvelous. Especially liked the Long-tailed Duck. We don’t see them around here. I agree with Susan (above).. why leave home? Or are you still hankering to hit the road?

    • Thank you, Gunta! It can sure play havoc on whether I stay or do I head out to the refuge and the local area’s marshlands! I am going to miss something somewhere! 😲 We wish we could be hitting the road, we miss our retirement dream!

    • They are quite pretty! I’ve been hoping to some day get some profile shots of them. Oh, how lucky you to see Goldeneyes in quantity! I am loving just watching our lone one, they too are quite pretty. I’d be hooked on watching several at the time, lol.

      • About this time each winter a flock of about 50 comes to visit here. There is a riffle in the river that is about a mile long that ends in a rapids. They fly to the head of the riffle and float down feeding on aquatic nymphs until just above the rapids where they take flight again back to the head of the riffle and you can hear the whistle of their wings as they fly. It’s a highlight of the winter.

  5. What exciting times on the creek! And all the better if they are so close to home 🙂 They are all beautiful water birds, and I especially liked the Pied-billed Grebe. Grebes are often mistaken for “baby ducks” so it’s nice to see some attention & love shown to them ❤ Hope you are having a great week.

    • Thank you, Takami! It’s been fun getting to watch a day of the life of a bird/duck, even more so when there’s numerous species! They show they are very comfortable being in our creek, even with it being surrounded with human population and activity. I love that! ❤ I am having a great week, I hope you are too!

  6. Wow! You have quite a variety of photo subjects! Fun to see the variety you can photograph! Great shots!

    • Thank you, Tom, I am glad you enjoyed them. I did luck out that day for sure! As you know, it is so relaxing to watch birds throughout a day, see their actions, know they feel safe. 😊

  7. A lovely selection of ducks and grebes we never see down here, which is most enjoyable, especially when you have them visiting you on your home creek. A lovely collection Donna!

  8. Wonderful photographs, Donna! What a nice assortment of ducks. I especially like the Lesser Scaup flight shots. I miss seeing duck migration: open water’s been in short supply around here…

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