Yesterday I noticed a small flock of about fifteen Northern Shoveler Ducks here on the lake. This is the first time I have ever seen these fascinating dabbler Ducks. The Northern Shoveler Duck has a very large slightly spoon-shaped bill. The drake is beautifully colored with a white chest , cinnamon rust brown sides and dark brown, nearly black wings with slightly white edges. The bill is dark brownish-blue, in color. The head of the male or drake is dark with an almost purple sheen to it. The diet of the Northern Shoveler Duck is largely made up of plant seeds and small aquatic invertebrates.
I was surprised to see a group of several Blue-winged Teal Ducks paddling along with the Northern Shovelers. The diet of both kinds of ducks are very similar. The Blue-winged Teal is the smaller duck with the white crescent on its head and throat. Both the female or hen Northern Shovelers and Blue-winged Teal Ducks look very similar but the Teals are smaller. The females both look very much like Mallard hens and also like Black Duck hens. There were a few American Coots (black in color) mixed in with the ducks. I was very happy to have seen these gorgeous migratory visitors. They will be on their way North soon. By the way, I will be posting some pictures of the Blue-winged Teal Ducks here soon. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!