Tag Archives: Duck

Blue-winged Teal Vacuums

Blue-winged Teals often eat in circles, almost like a choreographed dance of vacuum cleaners. There was plenty of duckweed to go around on this day and the wind was keeping it concentrated in one side of the pond, keeping the ducks near the walking path.

Blue Winged Teals Feeding on Duckweed
Blue Winged Teals Feeding on Duckweed

The duck’s movements leaves trails in the duckweed, indistinguishable from a path made by an underwater Alligator.

Blue Winged Teal
Male Blue Winged Teal

These three female Teals stayed in a row for quite awhile, perhaps because there is safety in numbers.

Blue Winged Teals Feeding on Duckweed
Blue Winged Teals Feeding on Duckweed

When the light hits them just right the iridescence on the males’ heads is quite pretty.

Blue Winged Teals Feeding on Duckweed
Blue Winged Teals Feeding on Duckweed

Gadwall

A few Gadwalls have been hanging out at Ravenswood Pond for the winter. They have been pretty quick to move to the middle or far side of the pond if they sense any human activity. On this day this small group took their time passing by me.

Gadwall
Gadwalls

They will be heading out soon on their spring migration.

Gadwall
Gadwall

This scene is looking the length of this rectangular, man-made pond. The “skinny tree” I sometimes mention is hosting a Great Blue Heron and can be made out on the right.

Pond with Gadwalls
Ravsenswood Pond with Gadwalls

There is duck weed all around the pond and some other bright green pond vegetation has thrived on the right-hand side.

Mottled Duck, 2

This pair of Mottled Ducks had been snugged up against the pond shore, then calmly paddled away as I approached.
Mottled Duck
Mottled Duck

They didn’t go far and swung around to catch the morning sun.

Mottled Duck
Mottled Duck

The pair stuck pretty close together, paralleling the shore line.

Mottled Duck
Mottled Duck Pair

Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Florida
January 6, 2020

 

Follow The Leader

The sun was going down behind me as I looped back by the pond where I had photographed the Mottled Duck pair and Tricolored Heron.

I took some landscape images and then realized the ducks and heron were still there, in the tall grass.

Pond, Sun's Last Rays
Pond, Sun’s Last Rays

The Tricolored Heron started working his way back out into the open.

Tricolored Heron and Mottled Duck Pair
Tricolored Heron and Mottled Duck Pair

And the ducks followed him.

Tricolored Heron and Mottled Duck Pair
Tricolored Heron and Mottled Duck Pair

The heron continued to wade and the ducks swam behind, all in a row.

Tricolored Heron and Mottled Duck Pair
Tricolored Heron followed by Mottled Duck Pair

Mottled Duck

This pair of Mottled Ducks was swimming in and out of patches of late afternoon sun on a shallow pond.

Mottled Duck Pair
Mottled Duck Pair

I stopped at a bench at the edge of the pond and they watched me as I watched them.

Mottled Duck
Mottled Duck

Baily Tract, Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Florida
January 6, 2020

I used the Merlin App to identify these as Mottled Ducks. Further reading at Cornell’s All About Birds:

It’s reminiscent of a female Mallard or an American Black Duck, but this is the closely related Mottled Duck. They’re so closely related that hybridization, especially with Mallards, poses a real threat to the Mottled Duck’s future.

In Florida, hybridization with introduced Mallards has produced many so-called “Muddled Ducks,” and care is needed to confirm identification of a “pure” Mottled Duck.

Wood Ducks Are Back

Yesterday was the first time I’ve seen more than two or three Wood Ducks together since last spring’s ducklings matured earlier in the summer.

Wood Ducks on Alligator Ramp
Wood Ducks on Alligator Ramp

Several were lined up on an Alligator ramp as I approached and a few small groups were paddling around in the pond. They tend to be skittish and their general direction was away from me, but a couple more flew onto the ramp.

Wood Ducks in Pond
Wood Ducks in Pond

I heard a Hawk call in the distance and these two groups and about twenty more that I didn’t even know were there in the tree line along my path flew off in a frenzy. Sadly, no photos of that!

Wood Ducks on Alligator Ramp
Wood Ducks on Alligator Ramp

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