“I’ve always looked upon the Ducks as caricature human beings.”Carl Barks
A few days ago we looked out the window and couldn’t believe all the ducks we saw! They were all paired off with their mates, except for one. Swimming and fishing in the morning sun, they seemed happy to be in the most wonderful river in the world! Steve ran to his camera and started clicking away. Here’s a small sampling of what we saw.
Pièce de Résistance – Long Tail Duck
This was a rare find! He was the only one without a mate. But that is okay, because long tailed ducks go to the arctic circle for that. He was just passing through. We were lucky to catch a glimpse of him. He’s a bit blurry, because he was way out in the middle of the river.
Long tailed ducks, formerly known by the politically insensitive old-timers as oldsquaw, are normally seen in the arctic and the open seas of the North Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. So imagine our joy when we saw him!
The eyes of a Common Goldeneye are gray-brown at hatching. They turn purple-blue, then blue, then green-blue as they age. By five months of age they have become clear pale green-yellow.
The eyes will be bright yellow in adult males and pale yellow to white in females.
Mergansers are ducks that specialize in eating fish. The Hooded is the smallest of our three native merganser species, and often seems to be the least numerous, as it tends to live around swamps and wooded ponds where it may be overlooked.
We do not always see hooded mergansers. They are uncommon for our area, but seem to be making a migratory comeback.
This is not Steve’s photo, as they were moving too fast and had left our view before he got to them.
We were lucky enough to see a group of wood ducks! It’s only the second time we’ve seen wood ducks and there were about a dozen of them. A group of ducks has many group names, including a “flight of ducks”, “flush of ducks”, “paddling of ducks”, “raft of ducks”, “flock of ducks” and a “team of ducks.”
Wood ducks tend to be shy and easily scared off, which is what happened when Loki saw them and started barking with enthusiasm.
- The Wood Duck is known as a “dabbling” duck.
- The male wood duck has bright colors for courtship displays.
- The female has dull colors to blend in with the environment.
It’s always fun to see the return of ducks and other waterfowl each spring after the ice on the river melts away. Soon we will see momma ducks leading the way for their sweet little ducklings. They will all pass by our dock each day to get a helping of cracked corn.
I hope you enjoyed reading about our water birds. Thank you for reading. – Barb, the River Blogger (Btrb)
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