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Posts tagged ‘American Coots’

Cool Weather Coots

The American Coots are here in this area in a big way.  The numbers of Coots has increased steadily.  I took these pictures at two different local lakes on Nov. 23, 2012.  At one lake, I saw a small group of maybe fifty Coots.  At the other lake which is fairly close to my current home here at the little farm, there are probably five hundred Coots!  The flocks that are newer to the area still tend to huddle together in a large raft formation.  Coots do this for security against predators.  The weather here in Cumberland County, TN, has recently been very cool and getting colder by the day.  The Coots are Winter visitors here.  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture.  Enjoy!

Bufflehead Ducks on the Big Lake

I live a few miles from a large private lake here in Cumberland County, TN.  Since I am not a property owner at this lake community, I had to take these pictures from the car on public streets near the shore.  I took these pictures yesterday afternoon.  Glad to note that our weather is much improved.   I am very fond of the little Bufflehead Ducks.  Bufflehead Ducks are migratory visitors here in Cumberland County and are here in the Winter months.  I always have a harder time taking pictures of these ducks as they are diving ducks and are extremely wary of people.

Bufflehead drakes or males, are the ones that are white with black accents along the back and eyes.  The hens are nearly the reverse in their color scheme with black or charcoal gray bodies and white around the eyes.  The Buffleheads are often seen with the American Coots.  I always get thrilled when I spot Bufflehead Ducks and I do hope some will be visiting the pond or at least the neighborhood lake nearby.  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture.  Enjoy!

The Coots are Back!

It is the time of year when many birds are migrating to their Winter homes.  I am always happy to see the return of the American Coots.  Coots are medium-sized water birds that resemble a cross between a duck and a chicken.  They love to dive for lake weeds and also eat seeds and grass.  The Coots are black with a white beak.  The Coots have large webbed, clawed feet.  The Coots also are great at flying.  They tend to be social and not terribly afraid of people.  Their chief predator is the Bald Eagle.  I only saw a pair of the Coots but those two were likely “Scouts” who fly ahead of the main flock to find safe and suitable lakes to land on.  The Coots are here in Cumberland County, TN from about late October through early April.

I have recently made a move from my lake home to a nearby small plot of land that also is near fresh water.  My new home has wildlife which I will take pictures of.  Additionally I will be having a large vegetable garden here at my new property next Spring and Summer.  I will occasionally be talking gardening on my posts but the focus will again mainly be wildlife watching.  Today’s post reflects pictures I took a few days ago on at the lake front home (as will several in coming days).  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture.  Enjoy!  Have a safe and happy Halloween!

Another Duck, Duck, Duck, Duck, Goose Day!

Wood Ducks

Mallard Ducks, Wood Ducks, Ruddy Ducks, and Ring-Necked Ducks were all here on the lake paddling past the neighbor’s dock and our dock on a single day a few weeks ago.  We even had several brazen, and sly, waterfowl up in the backyard happily eating bird and squirrel seeds and nuts.  Who could blame them? After all, the buffet was free!  The Ring-Necked Ducks were a surprise as I had not seen any Ring-Necked Ducks for the past several weeks.  We additionally had both the Greylag Goose and several Canada Geese here.  Quite the banner day for waterfowl.  We even still have a small number of those ever comical American Coots here. By the way, the American Coot is not a duck but is a water-bird member of the Rail family.  These ducks and geese were here when I took these pictures on March 12, 2011.  I so enjoy waterfowl watching!  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture.  Enjoy!

I want to encourage all who can do so, to please contribute to the Red Cross for the Japanese Disaster Relief Effort.  Donations are accepted online or at your local Red Cross Chapter office.  Thanks so very much!

Canada and Greylag Geese

Mallard Ducks

Ruddy Ducks

American Coot

Ring-Neck Duck (Drake)

Wood Duck (Drake)

Rainy Day Wood Ducks

There are about six or so Wood Ducks here on the lake at the moment.  The Wood Ducks often are seen cruising along in the lake just off my dock.  Sometimes the Wood Ducks join with the Mallard Ducks and the American Coots in cautiously clambering up into my backyard in search of insects, acorns, nuts and birdseed mix.  The Wood Ducks are very shy.  They nest in tree cavities or man-made nest boxes or shelves way up about 10 feet high.  There is a pair of Wood Ducks that I think would nest in the area here if there was a nest cavity or box for them.  They have been up on the second story deck of my home at least once in recent days.  The male is the more brightly colored of the pair.  I took these pictures of the Wood Ducks on the neighbor’s dock and in the water in the last couple of days as well as this morning.  Please click on the thumbnail version to see the larger picture.  Enjoy!

The Bald Eagle Fishing and Hunting on a Partially Frozen Lake

Yesterday morning I saw the Bald Eagle several times across the lake fishing and hunting.  I believe the Bald Eagle was out looking for a tasty Large Mouth Bass, Black Crappie, Blue Gill, Walleye, American Coot,or any one of the many Ducks here on the lake.  The Eagle stayed on the far shoreline of the lake all day.  I saw the Eagle two times in the morning and once briefly in the afternoon.  One shot I got was a sky filled with terrified Ducks!  I saw that the reason for the hasty flight was that the Bald Eagle was closing in on the flock.  You’ll have to look carefully in another of the pictures where you can see a lone American Coot just under the Eagle.  That Coot lived to see another day as I saw the splash where the Coot had dived under the water.   All in all, I was lucky to see the Bald Eagle so often.  Our 101 acre community lake is partially frozen so the Bald Eagles are taking advantage of easier hunting opportunities as the waterfowl are concentrated in the few open water places.  This morning we have about 3″ of  snow on the ground and the lake has more iced-over areas; some even with snow on top!  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture.  Enjoy!

A Red-Tailed Hawk Takes a Perch

A Red-Tailed Hawk has decided that one of my backyard Oak Trees is a fine place to temporarily perch.  The Red-Tailed Hawk has visited my backyard for several hours in the afternoons of both December 30, 2010 and December 31, 2010, and the morning of 12/31/10.  I took these pictures from my deck and from my upstairs windows.  The bird seemed to very very tolerant of quiet humans being outside.  There were many American Coots around here plus the huge numbers of Ducks.  We also have several Eastern Chipmunks and loads of Grey Squirrels.  All can be prey for this large raptor.  It sure is a beautiful bird to see up close.  It must be the time of year for the birds to have fresh beautiful and colorful feathers.  Most seem to have the most elegant array of feathering.  I was happy to see it even if it did scare all of the small animals into hiding.  The presence of the Hawk did cause the Ducks to paddle a bit farther away from the shore,  and some Ducks such as the Lesser Scaups, dove under the water.  Please click on the thumbnail version to see the larger picture.  Enjoy!

A Happy Bunch of Ducks, Part 1 of 2

Pair of Bufflehead Ducks and Female Lesser Scaup Duck (top)

The Lesser Scaup Ducks, Bufflehead Ducks, and Mallard Ducks were all happily paddling in mass along the shoreline near my dock.  Our 101 acre private community lake where I live had been frozen for the past week and just thawed out during the evening of 12/30/10.  I took these pictures yesterday from my living room window, my back deck and from a window in my basement.  I have never seen so many ducks in the same place at the same time here.  There must have been about two hundred ducks in all.  We also had the American Coots and the Canada Geese here.  This is the first of two posts with these pictures of the Ducks.  I’ll post the other here soon.

I will keep this post short and very sweet.  Happy New Year to all!  Please click on the thumbnail version to see the larger picture!

Waterfowl on the Frozen Lake, Part 2 of 2

The American Coots have fled the ice and have taken to front yard lawns!  I was amazed to see the whole flock in several lawns on my street, including my own!    I also took photographs of the Mallard Ducks walking and skidding on the iced surface of the lake.  Our lake has been frozen over for the past week.  I took these pictures on December 29, 2010 (Ducks in the backyard), and on December 30, 2010 (all others).  The Mallards also had quite the party feasting on bird seed and squirrel feed mix under my backyard bird feeder.  I was happy to see all but it is a bit jarring to see so many big birds in one’s yard!  A note:  Our lake has thawed as of this morning as I type.  The ducks are paddling around the shoreline happy as can be!  I’ll close with a wish for you to have the best of New Years in 2011!  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture.  Enjoy!  I’ll be posting next in 2011 on New Year’s Day!  See you here!

Ducks and Coots on a Small Frozen Lake in Cumberland County, TN

A Pekin Duck  gone wild (Domestic farm breed of Duck), Mallard Ducks, and American Coots were desperate for a place to paddle on one of the smallest of our community lakes.  The lake froze over almost completely, from the overnight hours into the early afternoon on 12/15/10.  I took one set of photographs from the shore leaning out the car window.  I went on my way elsewhere and upon my return, I passed by this same lake (It is about 1/2 miles from where I live).  I noticed that the pool of open water had shrunk to almost nothing and the ducks were actually walking on water (well, frozen water anyway).  I think I caught a picture where a coot fell through the thin ice, making a splash of snowy ice and water.  The temperatures here have been largely below freezing most of the time day and night for the past several days.  This is unusual for the area, I have been told.  I do know that the Ducks, Geese, Coots, and Grebes will be moving to shorelines on nearby lakes that may have more open water soon.  The weather is forecast to get a bit warmer but not much here in coming days.  I wish the critters well in their effort to stay able to find food, paddle freely, and be warm.   I took these pictures on the afternoon of December 15, 2010.  The lake where I live is now pretty much ice free due to our milder temperatures of yesterday and today.  The little lake still has thin ice but also is thawing a bit.  I was glad I took these pictures of an unusual event.  Please click on the thumbnail version to see the larger picture.  Enjoy!

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