Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Rare Black-Bellied Whistling Duck

There's been a lot of buzz lately in birding circles about a rare duck at Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge in Concord, Massachusetts.  Call me crazy, but I really wanted to see it.  So, I drove 24 miles one way in rush-hour traffic and took a walk on a dreary, overcast evening.  I wasn't there one minute before I met a photographer who had already spotted the Black-Bellied Whistling Duck just to the right of the causeway (at the first bridge).

Larry Warfield's blog explains the duck's presence by comparing it to someone vacationing in New England.  It usually reaches only the southernmost parts of Arizona or Texas, so to be seen in Massachusetts is a true rarity.

It really is a pretty duck.  It spent most of the time underwater, digging.  You can see some slime hanging from its bill when it is above water.  It was incredibly calm and unbothered by the small group of photographers who gathered at the bridge.  It must be used to the attention by now.

Also spotted a few other beauties:

Great Egret

Great Blue Heron

Goldfinches were all along the sides of the causeway trail.

Red-Winged Blackbird (female)

Lotus closeup

The lotus have really taken over the impoundments.  I suppose it's normally like this in summer, but this was the first time I've seen it.   It's nice to visit a place throughout the year and see the changes of the seasons.  To see photos of my other visits to Great Meadows, check out Great Meadows in June,  March,  February. and January.

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