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canonloader
18th of April 2009 (Sat), 12:02
I am 95% sure I have a tree nesting duck nesting cavity spotted. I was watching the area after seeing a pair of ducks orbitting this wooded area in a local park. They landed and I think entered a big knothole in a dead area of a tree. I watched it for awhile and did not see them exit. I walked back to get my car and drove around to a spot I could park and watch the hole and ended up watching it for well over an hour. I never did see them leave or come back to it, but I did see a Red Belly land on the underside for a minute, then he scrambled out of there in a hurry, like he heard something inside that wasn't a bug. :)

The ducks, if they didn't leave while I was getting the car, out-waited me and I left not knowing if they were still in there. So my question is, for anyone who has ever watched one of these nest, how long do they stay in there without coming out? Do both ducks enter the cavity at the same time? Should I expect to see them come and go on a regular basis during the day? Are they more active in the mornings or once it warms up? And any other hints you can give me. I would love to get some shots of them at the nest hole, cause from what I could tell, they went in fast, not wasting any time doing it. And I never did see just what kind of ducks they were, just that they were very fast flyers, smaller than mallards and that's about all I could tell. They might have been Wood Ducks cause we have a lot of those around, but I can't be sure.

Here's a shot of the nesting hole.
http://www.picturelacrosse.com/birds09/waterbirds09/duck-nest-img_4671-041809.jpg

highcountry
18th of April 2009 (Sat), 20:26
I would guess that they are wood ducks as you suspected. Keep us posted.

Naturalist
18th of April 2009 (Sat), 20:35
+1 for Wood ducks

canonloader
19th of April 2009 (Sun), 05:38
They probably are Woodies. But I want to know what their habits are so I don't waste hours watching an empty hole. :)

quackaddict
19th of April 2009 (Sun), 21:57
Wood ducks will be more active during morning and evening but nesting time is kind of crazy. That hen will move very little if she has a nest made, the drake will eventually leave once he does his thing, no bond is formed after copulation.

I would keep an eye on the nearest water in the area, the drake will hang around for a while and the hen will bring her young to water, but staking out the hole could be a long, long, bust.

canonloader
20th of April 2009 (Mon), 05:57
Thanks for that Quackaddict. I am still not positive it was a Wood Duck. Probably, but there are other tree nesting ducks and I did not get a real good eyeball on them while flying. They are really fast. But I saw both of them go to that hole and they must have both entered, since I did not see them go anywhere else when they first got there. The hole is certainly big enough to hold two smallish ducks. I guess I will just have to sit under the tree and wait to find out. :)

J-dubya
21st of April 2009 (Tue), 02:55
i would put my money on a wood duck, but it could have been a hooded merganser too. they inhabit the same types of areas as a wood duck does

canonloader
21st of April 2009 (Tue), 04:14
I haven't been back there since the day I found it cause it's been raining and cold. I should go today though.

I thought the ducks I saw in flight might be something besides Wood Ducks though, cause they had a lot of white on them. As many times as I have seen wood ducks here, I never saw any in flight, so I don't have a reference point for that. :)

The terrain is a park. Lot's of big Oak trees, open grass and not too crowded with people and less than a hundred yards to water on two sides. I saw more than one pair of ducks flying in among the trees too.

I did some Googling and found a list of cavity nesting ducks in North America. More than I ever knew about. :)

Black-bellied whistling duck
Wood duck
Common goldeneye
Barrow's goldeneye
Bufflehead
Hooded merganser
Common merganser

J-dubya
21st of April 2009 (Tue), 09:55
it would be EXTREMELY rare for it to be a whistling duck...they are southern coastal birds

buffleheads are TINY ducks, with a lot of white on them and they have very rapid wing beats.

common mergansers are rather large birds, but i would think that they would be more around big bodies of water

maybe a goldeneye, but i dunno

canonloader
21st of April 2009 (Tue), 10:14
Well, I was down there again, watching the nest hole for an hour and didn't see anything. It's a nasty windy and rainy day though. I'll try to get a shot next time I see ducks flying around the woods. There were lot's of them the other day, today I only saw one and it didn't orbit or slow down, just kept going. :)