Tuesday, February 23, 2010

River Ice Port Credit Lets Ducks Walk on Water

A very sunny Sunday in a fairly mild winter in Port Credit, Ontario (see this post for details) meant that the ice on the Credit River was rapidly melting.

And this normal, natural occurrence offered the illusion that ducks were walking on water. [Click on image to enlarge, then click Back to return to this page]

Gulls on Ice Port Credit Ontario
Just south of the landmark Lighthouse, the west side of the Credit River forms a little bay that's a great favourite with the local avian population -- Mallard ducks, swans, gulls and occasionally a bufflehead duck or two.

Gulls, Mallard Ducks Ice Sheet Credit River in Mississauga
 The ice in this little bay had mostly melted, and what remained was a barely visible clear skim of ice, beneath which the river current flowed, causing it to undulate gently.

This thin ice sheet provided an ideal landing platform for a few dozen gulls, and a smattering of mallards.

Mallard Duck Male and Female Walking on the Credit River
As the ducks came in for a landing, or waddled towards open water, their little feet slipping on the ice gave the illusion they were walking on water. This unusual site had most passersby stopping to watch their antics.

Canada Geese Credit River at Saddington Park 
Three Canada geese swam leisurely by, ignoring the mallard antics. Likely the river ice sheet would not support the weight of these larger birds. And, for what it's worth, the ducks seemed to be enjoying themselves!

Canada Geese Credit River Port Credit Ontario
Canada geese and swans know to look for grain along the west bank of the Credit River, just south of the Lighthouse in Port Credit, where the fishing boats moor in Summer. The green  roof top right is Snug Harbour Restaurant; the highrise is the Waterside Inn.

Each year at this time, someone spreads grains near the river bank in the same spot, and the hungry migrants remember it and tell their friends.

I took a short video of the ducks walking on water (Ice) and sliding in for a landing:

A Bird-Finding Guide to Ontario lNational Audubon Society Pocket Guide to Waterfowl (National Audubon Society Pocket Guides)   Waterfowl: An Identification Guide to the Ducks, Geese, and Swans of the World