Category Archives: Duck

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks

I’ve stopped to watch Black-bellied Whistling Ducks in this marshy area several times this summer. One day last week a few were quite close to the walk way and were less skittish than on previous visits.

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks
Black-bellied Whistling Ducks

Some of the chicks are nearly adult size but are still sticking close to a parent.

Black-bellied Whistling Duck Family
Black-bellied Whistling Duck Family

This one had been standing on the end of the of the walkway and decided to join the others…

Black-bellied Whistling Duck in Flight
Black-bellied Whistling Duck in Flight

…landing in the short greenery with the family group behind him.

Black-bellied Whistling Duck in Flight
Black-bellied Whistling Duck Touching Down

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck Pair

There were several pairs of Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks around the edges of a pond, mostly tucked into the vegetation. Neither one of this pair moved a bit after I spotted them.

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck

From another direction this pair took flight towards another connected pond, showing off more of their striking colors.

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck Pair in Flight
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck Pair in Flight

Mama Wood Duck Plus Eight

Shortly after the nice surprise of seeing a Wood Duck with two ducklings on Sunday I came upon this one with eight ducklings.

Female Wood Duck with Eight Ducklings
Female Wood Duck with Eight Ducklings

They were paddling along all together in a tight group at first but eventually spread out enough for me to count them.

Female Wood Duck with Eight Ducklings
Female Wood Duck with Eight Ducklings

They followed the pond to the corner then did an about face and headed back the way they came, sticking pretty close to mom. The water was reflecting the dead brown grass on the bank so this image isn’t that pretty, but you can see each duckling distinctly.

Female Wood Duck with Eight Ducklings
Female Wood Duck with Eight Ducklings

Ducklings: Make Way

Wait for me!

These ducklings and their Wood Duck mom were exploring the middle of the pond, back and forth.

Female Wood Duck with 18 Ducklings
Female Wood Duck with  Ducklings

Mom was working hard keeping track of her charges. A male Wood Duck was nearby but didn’t appear to be helping with the minute to minute supervision.

Female Wood Duck with 18 Ducklings
Female Wood Duck with  Ducklings

When they finally spread out a bit I counted 18 ducklings!

Female Wood Duck with 18 Ducklings
Female Wood Duck with 18 Ducklings

Female Bufflehead

Small, compact and swimming at a steady pace, I thought this was a Grebe at first when I caught a glimpse through the reeds.

Female Bufflehead
Female Bufflehead

I was able to get to a gap in the reeds for a better view and discovered it was a female Bufflehead. I listened and looked on both sides of the marsh dike where I was walking and didn’t see any others.

Female Bufflehead
Female Bufflehead

Merganser Drama

This Hooded Merganser was outnumbered, by Common Gallinules of all things. Gallinules tend to stick to the edges of any waterway and mind their own business except for their cackling squawks which always alerts the whole area to a photographer’s presence. Or so I thought.

Hooded Merganser and Gallinules
Hooded Merganser and Gallinules

The Gallinules quickly got into the Merganser’s space.

Hooded Merganser and Gallinules
Hooded Merganser and Gallinules

He tried out paddling them.

Hooded Merganser and Gallinules
Hooded Merganser and Gallinules

They followed so the  Merganser opted to put some extra distance between them.

Hooded Merganser and Gallinules
Hooded Merganser and Gallinule

Finally, a spot of his own.

Hooded Merganser
Hooded Merganser

Blue-winged Teals Over the Marsh

Last Saturday was a spectacular bird day at Bear Island Wildlife Management Area and these Blue-winged Teals were one of the many groups of birds I saw. The water had been lowered in some of the back ponds which attracts the wading birds, shore birds and migrating ducks.

The reeds at the edge of the canals are above my head in most places so I did not have a clear view of the teals until they took off.

Blue-winged Teals in Flight
Blue-winged Teals in Flight

Black-bellied Whistling Duck

This is the first Whistling Duck I have seen in South Carolina. He was perched high in a tree over a pond and I couldn’t even tell what it was until I zoomed in on the image in my camera.

Black-bellied Whistling Duck in Tree
Black-bellied Whistling Duck in Tree

The duck periodically threw his head back and made a very un-duck like sounding call.

Black-bellied Whistling Duck in Tree
Black-bellied Whistling Duck in Tree

A pair of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks flew by, but didn’t slow down to listen to the one in the tree and he didn’t make any effort to join them.

Black-bellied Whistling Duck Pair Flying
Black-bellied Whistling Duck Pair Flying

There was still about a half hour until sunset, but the sun, which was behind me, was disappearing into a cloud bank, taking the light and any possibility of a colorful sunset with it.

Black-bellied Whistling Duck in Tree
Black-bellied Whistling Duck in Tree

Young Wood Ducks

As juvenile Wood Ducks grow it becomes harder to tell them from the adult females. These two were hanging out getting some sun on a recent afternoon, showing some of their newly developed colors.

Wood Ducks
Wood Ducks

Not content to just sit, one of them took a walk to the other end of the ramp to see what a third duck was up to.

Wood Ducks
Wood Ducks

The alligator ramp they are on is not far from shore and any ducks that are on it usually head for the middle of the pond after a few photographs by passers by.

Wood Ducks
Wood Ducks