Bufflehead Ducks are Winter visitors here on the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee. I took these pictures last Winter (2011) at the Cumberland Mountain State Park in Crossville, TN, and also on Lake Tansi, an area near Crossville, TN. The Bufflehead Ducks are my favorite ducks. They are wary of people. They are also difficult for me to take pictures of. They tend to congregate in remote spots on the lakes.
The drake is the one with white and dark iridescent purplish-black, and flashes of green. The hen is charcoal grey with beige and white accents. The genders mirror each other in color. They are diving ducks and eat smaller aquatic animals. The drake can raise the white feathers on its head at times. These small ducks migrate here for the Winter from way up North in the Mid-western U.S. and also in Canada. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
Wood Ducks came to call on April 21, 2012. This is the first time I have seen a flock here. Usually I see four or five but more likely just a trio. The big flock was a pleasant surprise. Notice that most of these ducks are drakes or males. The drakes are the colorful ones with brown, green, orange, blue, black, white and red feathers. A walking rainbow! The hens are cocoa brown and white with black accents. Both are smaller ducks. They whistle-quack. They nest in trees and have long toenails on webbed feet. Wood Ducks like eating insects both aquatic and land-based. They are very shy ducks and live in our area of Cumberland County, TN, year around. I am very happy to have seen these beautiful ducks! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger photo. Enjoy!
Two days ago when out for a Sunday drive in the hinterlands of our community here in Cumberland County, TN, I spotted a Wild Turkey. The Turkey was just at the side of an infrequently travelled road where there were no houses at all. The hen Turkey was just walking around in the brush in a thicket of Oaks. Wild Turkeys are not often seen here in my community but I have seen them on three occasions in the past two years. Wild Turkeys eat grains, seeds, berries, acorns, some insects, and surprisingly, salamanders. I was not aware the Turkeys ate salamanders until I checked out the article on Wild Turkeys on the Tennessee’s Watchable Wildlife Internet site. That fact about Turkeys eating salamanders is an interesting fact. Not that there are many salamanders in my area for the giant birds to eat. This hen Turkey is typical of the coloring and look of female Wild Turkeys. The males are slightly larger and have a larger blue head, a hanging wattle of skin and a feathered beard. I took the pictures from my car window on 3-27-11 in the mid-afternoon. Unfortunately there was a lot of grass and brush in the way that partially obscured the view of the Turkey. Please click on the thumbnail version to see the larger photo. Enjoy!
A solitary Common Loon came by the dock this morning. I was very happy to have spotted it. One had been here last week but I did not get to see it. I saw a Common Loon on a few occasions last spring. The call of the Loon is something distinctive and it sounds like a trilling sort of semi-yodel. This information about the Common Loon mostly came from the TN Dept. of Wildlife Resources site called “Tennessee’s Watchable Wildlife”. I have put the URL address for this nice web site on my blog link list at right. These water birds are residents up North and in the Eastern fresh water lakes, ponds, and rivers. There is a different Loon that lives in the Western states, the Pacific Loon (I have never seen one and I used to live in California). The Common Loon is black with white speckles in a more-or-less checkerboard pattern of feathers on its back. It has a sloped head and a long, powerfully slender and sharp bill. The Common Loon is a fish eater. These birds do not nest in Tennessee at all and are just late Winter and spring visitors to the lake here in Cumberland County, TN. I took these pictures today, March 25, 2011 from my deck. PLease click on the thumbnail version to see the larger photograph. Enjoy!
Ring-necked Ducks have been here on our private community lake in Cumberland County, TN, several times this Winter. I am not sure if these are among a group of Ring-necked Ducks that had been here last month. It is possible that the Ring-necked Ducks may be visiting several different nearby lakes and coming and going between them. Who knows? Even though I only counted nine Ring-necked Ducks in this group, it may be that there were other Ring-necked Ducks on our lake that I couldn’t see.
The male or drake is the one with the black and white feathers. The female or hen, is brown with a darker brown on her back. Both genders has a white ring around their bill. The female can be confused with similar looking Lesser Scaup Ducks, Red-Head Ducks, and with Ruddy Ducks if the viewer is not being careful. All have similar body coloring. The Ring-necked Duck is a diving duck and loves eating aquatic plants, and small aquatic animals. I took these pictures yesterday, March 21, 2011. Please click on the thumbnail version to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
American White Pelicans are rarely seen in Cumberland County, TN. The small flock of about fifteen big white birds came to visit this morning on our 101 acre private community lake! What a wonderful sight! The American White Pelican usually lives in the upper Mid-west and prairie states with some also living in the West. These large water birds live in lakes and along marshes in larger rivers. They winter along the Gulf of Mexico with many in Florida. When seen in Tennessee, the American White Pelicans are usually found in the Western section of Tennessee, closer to the Mississippi River.
The American Pelican uses its bill to scoop up fish from shallow depths. They do not dive like the Brown Pelicans do. The American White Pelican will eat fish, and small aquatic animals such as Crayfish or Frogs. They also hunt cooperatively at times and will encircle fish by gathering together. The American White Pelicans usually have very large flocks. The group here on the lake may just be an advance scout group or simply strayed from the big flock. In any event I think that the American White Pelicans are very interesting birds! I was thrilled to get a glimpse of these spectacular visitors! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
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