I was in Eufala, Alabama last week and visited the Lakepointe Resort State Park Campground and Eufala National Wildlife Refuge. Here are some more photographs I took during this visit. I loved spotting Kildeer, a lone male Northern Cardinal, a pair of Gadwall ducks, a flock of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, a Northern Mockingbird, and several Great Egrets and Great Blue Herons. It was a fun visit! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
Male Northern Cardinal
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret with State Park Resort Hotel in the Background
Flock of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks in Flight
I had seen a Gadwall Duck on the pond most days during the past few weeks. There were small group of Gadwalls here within the past month, but I think that the other Gadwalls are on the nearby lake. The Gadwall ducks are a lovely medium-sized grey-ish brown duck with a white patch on each of its wing feathers. The bill is a dark blue-brown. These ducks have a faint line over their eyes. Both genders pretty much look alike. This is a tipping duck that stretches its head and neck and tips downward in the shallow water to pull up aquatic bulbs, grasses and weeks. These ducks also occasionally eat insects but plants are their main diet. I have noticed that sometimes a stray duck or two will mix-in with the other ducks, especially with a group of Mallards. The Gadwalls are migratory visitors here. I enjoyed seeing the Gadwall here on the little farm pond. I took these pictures in my yard on Feb. 7, 2012, and Feb. 13, 2012. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
The little group of Hooded Mergansers were still here yesterday when I took these pictures from outside in my yard. I braved the slightly warmer temperatures (about 29 degrees F.) and snapped from behind an Oak Tree. The Hooded Mergansers were sharing the little pond here with a pair of Canada Geese, and some Mallard Ducks and a couple of Gadwall Ducks. The flock of Wood Ducks were not around. The snow was rapidly melting and the sun was shining. The mergansers are diving ducks. They like eating snails, small fish, smaller turtles and any other small aquatic animals or insects that they can catch. The mergansers also will dive to avoid predators.
The male or drake, will raise his white hood crest when he is alert, afraid, or aggressive. I noticed that when the Canada Geese came near, or the duck surfaced near the goose, the drake merganser had his white hood up. The hens also have a hood but it is a wild-looking fringe of brown that is the same color as the head and neck. The mergansers are migratory ducks and are just here for a quick visit before going north. I enjoyed seeing them. By the way, the pond is frozen about half-way across. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
A few weeks ago a couple of Gadwall ducks were here on the pond. The Gadwall ducks were here at the same time as were the pair of Bufflehead ducks. The Gadwall ducks are migratory visitors here in Cumberland County, Tennessee in the winter months. These ducks are dabbling ducks like the Mallard ducks. They lower their head into the shallow water, and use their bill to find a tasty meal of aquatic weeds, seeds, and snails. These ducks like to explore shallow reedy, muddy areas of ponds, shallow streams, rivers and lakes.
The drakes or males, are grey with a patch of black at the tail. Gadwalls also have a small, cream-colored area at the end of the top tail feathers, that lays over the black under-feathers a bit. The females are similar but are more of a mixed brown color. I think the Gadwalls that were here were hens, but I could be wrong. The Gadwall ducks often mix in with Mallards and other similar dabbling ducks. I was quite happy to see these three Gadwalls here. I took these pictures on Jan. 13, 2012 in my yard. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!