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Just Ducky

Hooded Merganser, Arroyo Simi, Simi Valley (11/7/21) Kathy Jonokuchi

Ventura County is just ducky, right now. Its waterways are filled with migrant ducks, that have returned to overwinter in Southern California.

SoCal color spotter Kathy Jonokuchi describes Arroyo Simi, in the Simi Valley, as a wash that runs through the suburbs. Presently, it is a birding hotspot, attracting Hooded Mergansers, Lophodytes cucullatus and American Wigeons, Mareca americana.

Hooded Merganser, Arroyo Simi, Simi Valley (11/7/21) Kathy Jonokuchi

The mergansers favor secluded, sheltered or overgrown locations. They often opt for shady areas, so Kathy’s shots of them cruising in the sunlight across dappled waters are special. Male mergansers sport spectacular plumage which contrasts beautifully with irregular fall sunlight and makes the boys attractive to the girls who wear more demure and dusky dress, reports Lone Pine’s field guide, Birds of Northern California. “Mergansers are shallow divers, unlike dabbling ducks such as the mallard or wigeon,” Kathy writes.

American Wigeon, Arroyo Simi, Simi Valley (11/7/21) Kathy Jonokuchi

The male American wigeons have an irridescent green smear that runs from their eye arcing across their heads, with a cinnamon breast and black and white feathers. Their ladies have greyish heads and brown bodies.

Now, you’ve got us inspired, Kathy. We’re off to Colusa on our annual trek to enjoy the beauty of California’s migratory waterfowl. Now, isn’t that just ducky?
  • Wildlife viewing, Aroyo Simi, Simi Valley – Peak (75 – 100%), GO NOW!

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