Thursday, April 9, 2015

Ducks and more Ducks

Which ones deserve the title?  Northern Shoveler?  Green-Winged Teals?  Wood Ducks?  Ring-Necked Ducks?  I couldn't decide.  They were all exciting to see!

It was 37 degrees and drizzling.  Miserable weather for humans.  Great weather for ducks!

Before I even got down to the water's edge, I spied an Osprey flying towards the water and then hovering, in the awesome way they do, over a fish it must have spied from above.  Pretty awesome predator, also known as a fish eagle.


Northern Shoveler (male)

The Northern Shoveler is a very cool bird, not often seen by me.  It is named for its wide, long bill which has tons of filters in it for straining food from the water.  Fun fact I just read about this duck.  If the female is flushed from her nest, she will often defecate on her eggs.  The thought is that this will deter predators.  Well, it must work, or they wouldn't keep doing it, right?

Green-Winged Teals

Wood Ducks (sigh)

another shot with a better look at the female

Ring-Necked Ducks (female in front)

Curious little guy
Doesn't he look like he's had his head squeezed in a vise?

I was hiding in the trees and taking photos through a small opening in the branches.  These ducks swam closer to me, in their little flock of 9, and this one gave me a good long look.  Usually ducks are extremely skittish and fly off, making a lot of racket as they go.  Not this group.  Doesn't bode well for their survival, if you ask me.  It is a very handsome duck, but the only way you can see the ring on its neck is if it raises its head very high.  Then you can see rusty-colored feathers for which it is named.  It's another one of those bird names that makes no sense when you are only birding with binoculars, but whoever named them probably had a close look at a dead bird.

There were also Canada geese, gulls, Common Mergansers, Song Sparrows, a Northern Mockingbird, Blue Jays, and Tree Swallows.  Lots of activity at this area!  And at least with drizzle, I can still risk getting my camera out because all those birds aren't half as fun without the proof!

Amazing how many varieties of ducks I saw in a short time and how pretty and unique they each are.

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