Saturday, January 3, 2009

A few more birds ...

Below are a few more photos I took while attending the Festival of the Cranes. These photos were taken at the pond at New Mexico Tech. A couple posts ago I mentioned that I like American wigeons. I not only like their calls, but also like their coloring, both plumage and their bills. Even in their fall plumage these birds are still attractive. I like the behavior description Don and Lillian Stokes give in their field guide. It says: "As early arrivals on their southern wintering grounds, they immediately begin courtship, which lasts until March. ... During courtship, competing males repeatedly give whistling calls..." I guess that's why I kept hearing so many of them calling; I didn't realize they were beginning their courtship. Also funny, they aren't in their breeding plumage yet.
Also seen in the pond were a couple of ring-necked ducks. I find this another attractive duck, and another duck with a multi-colored bill. And you sure can't miss their yellow eyes!
Waddling around on the campus near the pond were several hybrid ducks and geese. Here is one I found interesting with its greenish head and blackish body, and a nondescript bill.
Another unusual looking duck - I think it was a duck. The all white color is quite striking and then it has a bright orange bill. Isn't that a typical color (bill) for mallards? I'm fairly certain it was not leucistic, but nonetheless a nice looking duck.
And here is another photo of another American wigeon. At first I thought this one was a female, but a closer look makes me think this is a male. I wonder if it is a first or second year male since its coloring isn't as striking as the first photo I posted.


Mel said...


Those ducks are so cool! Great pictures!

Linda in Erie said...

Very nice set of photos of the ducks. I had a number of hybrid ducks and geese on my ranch in CA. The males always had the curled feather on their rumps. I don't know that much about other kinds of ducks to know if all ducks have that characteristic or not. It's time for me to get studying up on them as migration is right around the corner and I want to get a lot of lifers this year.

Lynne said...

I saw my first wigeon at Cape May.
It does have a pretty and soothing call.

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

Your ducks are posing perfectly.Each one is good looking in it's own way,but,isn't that the way it is with all birds.

Red said...

I think Linda's comment is dead on. I read somewhere that Mallards are known for their curly tail feathers. I think it was a post by Charlie at 10,000 birds.

Mary C said...

Mel, thank you!

Linda, thank you! Ok, study up; I'm ready to hear about your lifers. ;o)

Hi Lynne. It's probably not as soothing as a loon's call. But then, to each his/her own. Right? Actually, I don't think I've seen or heard a loon in person, but for now I will enjoy the wigeons' calls.

Hi Ruth. Thank you. And yes, every bird appears to be good looking in their own way.

Hi Red. I find mallards' curly tail feathers to be one of their best features. And it's also a good sign for ID, although it seems mallards (as common as they are) are already easy to ID. I think it's when one comes across the hybrids it can be more difficult to ID.

Anonymous said...

Nice wigeons - they're one of my favorite ducks too.

The white duck is (at leats mostly) a Pekin Duck, bred for food in China, and brought to the US in the late 1800s. It is the breed of duck most commonly eaten in the US. I see escapees often in "mutt duck" flocks.

Red said...

That's what I meant with the curly tail feathers... it helps in identifying the mutts to be part Mallard.

I had no idea about that Adam :) There always seems to be at least one of them in a city pond. I thought they were just an odd variation of a Mallard mutt.

Mary C said...

Adam, thanks so much for the extra info on the duck. I never gave it a thought about a Peking duck.


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