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Ducks, Glorious Ducks

Sunday, March 2, 2014

What a fine bird is the common goldeneye! This magnificent hen was preening her belly when I found her. 

The contortions and pivots, a delight to witness. Look at that tail. I'm counting 14 tail feathers. An oddity of diving duck tails is a variable number of tail feathers. Lots. Most birds have 12 tail feathers. Diving ducks have more. This is the kind of thing bird painters think about. How many, and why, and getting it right. We're always counting feathers.

What a tableau! From back left, greater scaup hen, bufflehead drake, bathing bufflehead hen, greater scaup hen, redhead drake and hen. I almost felt I was back in the Potholes in spring. Except that I was freezing my patootie off, and this was Dunkirk Harbor in New York.

Gotta love a drake redhead made of watered satin. This one looks like he'll return to the Potholes to breed in fine fettle!

The exercise became trying to capture the best ducks in one shot.

Greater scaup, redhead, hooded merganser.

This is my favorite, a redhead and two hoodies. Redheads aren't very large, but hooded mergansers are diminutive little ducks. I adore them--just one big graphic, they are, with their little dinosaurian snoots edged in toothlike lamellae.

I cropped that photo as above for my Facebook cover photo. But the uncropped version is cooler. Note the reflection of a floating herring gull at top.

The gulls are never far away, always assessing the ducks. Feeling OK? Come closer. Let Dr. Hegu take a look.

Now a little shoutout to Bill of the Birds, who has a birthday tomorrow. I will be guiding a birding trip in Costa Rica as you complete another trip around the sun. Happy birthday Bill. I'll wave the green starboard lamp as your ship passes in the night, bound for Argentina.


Hey, cool! Your husband and mine share a birthday! Happy birthday, Bill!

Posted by Anonymous March 2, 2014 at 3:51 AM

Do Hooded Mergansers even have a clue how unreal gorgeous they are!?
And, a happy 39th to Pisces Bill!

Such glorious ducks! Haven't seen a Hooded Merganser since we left the Olympic Peninsula. A stunning little beauty.

Happy birthday to Bill!

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