Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Wood Duck Wonders

I love ducks, as do most birders. From Cinnamon Teals to American Wigeons to Northern Pintails, ducks have endless varieties of looks and patterns that make them wonders to behold. But in my book, nothing tops the Wood Duck. The male Wood Duck, in particular.

In my former neighborhood, ducks of all kinds were common, but Wood Ducks were scarce. Now that I'm in a new location in Northern California, I'm thrilled that these birds are more commonly seen. I showed a local pair in my last blog post, but this morning, I really hit the jackpot in a nearby pond. Enjoy!

Everybody in the water!

How many colors do you see?

As usual, the female is drab in comparison. The white eye liner helps a little!

The Mr. and the Mrs. out together.

Think he knows how good he looks?

A closer look at the sweet and modest female.

Behold, Adonis!

Time to go ashore for a sun snooze.

I hope your days are filled with more wonders of nature and I wish you Wood Ducks in your future. Good birding!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Ducks Aplenty

One of the nicest things about this time of year is that wintering ducks are around in force. But unlike a typical year, there's one very unusual duck visiting Central California, a misplaced Falcated Duck, which should be at home in Asia. Birders are arriving from all over the U.S. and Canada to get a look. It's been hanging out with all the other wintering ducks at the Colusa Wildlife Refuge. I went up there last weekend and got to see it myself. It was pretty far off so my photo is a bit blurry, but this is it:

The Falcated Duck was a big thrill, but just a couple of weeks ago I was able to capture this male and female Wood Duck pair at a local stream just walking distance from my house.

And in this same stream just days ago, I came upon this Common Goldeneye. It's not common to me, as I've only ever seen one once before and at quite a distance, so I was happy to capture this female.

Other ducks I'm seeing lots of include Northern Pintails . . .

Northern Shovelers . . .

Gadwalls . . . 

a beautiful male Mallard . . . 

and one very special little female Mallard with a bit of downy fuzz on her bill.