Three Ring-necked Ducks were paddling along an impoundment at Vierra Wetlands in the late afternoon. Yes, the ring is hard to see. A quick read at Cornell’s All About Birds reveals that the name was provided by 19th century biologists who were examining dead specimens so had a different view of the chestnut collar than those of us observing the bird in the field.
“Golden Eye” would have fit for a name, but might already have been spoken for at the time. Or a name that described the white outlined beak. No matter the name he is quite a pretty bird.
The male duck was accompanied by a female and a juvenile that didn’t venture far from each other.
Vierra Wetlands, Brevard County, Florida, 1/27/2018
There are small numbers of Teals, mostly Blue-winged, at the pond and there is plenty of duck weed to keep them fed. This pair decided to try the other end of the pond and took a low flight to get there.
Blue-winged TealsThe white line on the far shoreline is ice, the final remnant of our snow storm and cold snap.
I didn’t expect to see a male Wood Duck in breeding plumage in September. This fellow was paddling back and forth in a small pond, looking around.
He very nicely showed off both sides and created a lovely reflection in the still water. This pond was cleared of invasive overgrowth over the summer and I’m hopeful more ducks will visit over the winter.
In another larger pond a short distance away a few females or juveniles were also just swimming around.
There we were enjoying the view of Spoonbills, Egrets and Herons and then the sky exploded with a flock of Blue-winged Teals. I didn’t even know what they were at first and was surprised to see the flock move like a unit once they got above the tree line.
Some of the wading birds joined in – click photos for larger view. Regrettably, we couldn’t get closer to where they landed for a view of them in the water.
A few Wood Ducks were hanging out on an alligator ramp in the old rice field pond. Everyone was happy until a hawk flew over and one by one they slid into the water and paddled to the far shore and relative safety of the reeds.
This one lone duck didn’t seem to get the message and stood her ground on a lump of debris.
These photos were taken two weeks before Hurricane Irma swept through South Carolina last week. I passed this spot yesterday and the duck weed blew into the pond corners and many of the reed islands are re-arranged.
This was one of those times that I took the first shot not knowing just what that “blob” was until I had zoomed in on the screen. The kind that sometimes turns out to be a piece of trash or a stick. Or three Wood Ducks whose bodies appeared disjointed from my angle.
Fortunately, I was able to work my way a little closer and the three stayed put while I took a family portrait.
With very few ducks around to consume the Duck Weed it is covering a larger portion of Ravenswood Pond than a month ago. It gets moved around by the wind and concentrates at the edges where you can get the closest photographs of the Wood Ducks. On the plus side there is less glare.
The female Wood Duck was taking a break from her chicks. They were sticking together and wasted no time moving away from perceived danger. Based on the ducklings size this could be the group that a few weeks ago numbered around a dozen, now down to five.
One male was at the other end of the pond where the duck weed pattern is different with large gaps out in the middle of the pond for a nice reflection. The water is deeper here–the larger alligators can swim without sticking out of the water.