This pair of Northern Shovelers was sticking together as they worked the pond in the early morning light. They were one of only a few water birds in the area that was patrolled by at least two pairs of Bald Eagles making them easy targets.
Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Florida, 2/21/2018.
The Hooded Mergansers tend to be shy and I usually see them retreating shortly after I spot them. I happened to be sitting on a low wall watching a pond when these two swam by me, close enough to get a shot.
The brown reeds and grasses of late winter made a golden glow on the water, a nice complement to these gorgeous ducks. The male is certainly flashier, especially when he has his hood up, but the female is an understated beauty.
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.