Sunday, November 25, 2007

Festival of the Cranes, Thursday, Nov 15, 2007

As mentioned in a previous post, our first event for Thursday was the Raptors presentation held at the Refuge. This was a Power Point slide presentation along with several live education birds. These birds have been brought to The Wildlife Center for rehabilitation and it had been found that they could not be released back into the wild. So they are used for educational purposes. It was so exciting to see so many raptors "up close and personal." After the presentation and showing of the captive birds, along with time for questions and answers, we were then grouped to go over to the Refuge's observation decks. This is the field trip where Jeff Bouton and Julie Zickefoose accompanied the group and added so much more to the day's event. This is also where the Peregrine Falcon was released, and where Jeff Bouton found a Harlan's red-tailed hawk flying over us.

This event went from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Our next event we had signed up for was for 1:30 p.m. at the Macey Center (another 20-25 minutes away). So we hustled to get to our next event which was about Cave Swallows. It was presented by Steve West who is a cave swallow bird bander, and does much of his banding at Carlsbad Caverns. My husband and I were there to watch the bats at Carlsbad about ten years ago. That's another exciting thing to watch how the bats exit the caves enmasse. After the presentation we went over to the pond behind the Macey Center to see what birds (mostly ducks, etc) were there. Here are a few photos of what I saw there. So many of these species of ducks seem to interbreed, thus many strange looking hybrid mallards.

These are one of my favorites - the American Wigeon. They actually sound more like a passerine than a duck. I enjoy hearing and listening to them.

The photo above shows a female mallard behind a ?domestic goose?

Here is a male mallard.

And a female mallard.

And maybe someone can identify this bird. My husband and I think it is a "domesticated" type of goose. Is it? There are so many of these guys waddling or swimming around the pond.

And is this also a goose? Or is it some form of duck? A white form of a mallard? A hybrid duck/goose?


Adam R. Paul said...

What a great trip!

Is that a Crested Duck I see in the first photo? They're a really weird-looking domestic duck with a poofy white puff on the back of their head.

I agree that American Wigeons are lovely ducks, one of my favs.

The white bird below the Wigeon photos is another domestic Mallard. I don't think the bird behind it is a female Mallard, though - they have orange bills with black spots. Yours looks like a female Wigeon to me.

The goose with an orange hump on its head is indeed a domestic type. Domestics are typically hybridized to some extent, but this one has a lot of Chinese (AKA Swan) Goose in its lineage, evidenced by the bump on its head.

The last one is a white domestic Mallard.

I wouldn't spend too much time on the domestic ducks - you'll go crazy, as there's a LOT of variation, even among just the Mallards.

Mary C said...

Adam - thank you so much for your input. So those ducks with the poofy "hairdo" are called "crested" ducks. I actually thought they were in the molting process. We saw a few this year, but last year there were many more with the poofy "do." And those white "ducks" are really a hybrid of a mallard? Wow! The little duck behind the white mallard is a female wigeon? Yes, I'm glad you caught that - I should have noticed is wasn't a female mallard - too small. And those ducks/geese with the hump on its beak -- I kind of knew they were a hybrid of sorts and more or less domestic, but I had never seen this kind anywhere else except on this pond. But then again, I guess I never bothered to look around that much at so many domestics and hybrids. You are right that I shouldn't spend much time on those domestics/hybrids. But I knew they were all so different from the water fowl I have seen at the Refuge. Thanks again for your input and for visiting my blog.

Charlie said...

Hi Mary

I posted quite a long page looking at (what I disrespectfully) call "manky mallards" on 10,000 Birds. Some of your very birds are probably on the page as some of the photos were provided by my good friend Jack Cole who birds and lives in San Jose as well!

The page if you're interested is at


10,000 Birds


Current skin is MC Winter 08 and designed by Red.
Best viewed on Firefox at 1024x768, larger or widescreen.