Black-bellied Whistling Ducks
Hen Mallard Duck
Hooded Merganser Ducks
Here are some of the ducks that have been here in my area in the last week or so. I have spotted a flock of Hooded Mergansers, the ever-present Mallard Ducks, a lot of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, a few Lesser Scaup Ducks, and at least two Bufflehead Ducks! Quite the bunch. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
Black-bellied Whistling Ducks
Hen Mallard Duck
Hen Bufflehead Duck
Lesser Scaup Ducks
Yesterday afternoon I saw a couple of drake Lesser Scaup ducks here on the little farm pond. These are the first Lesser Scaups I have seen on the pond. These are migrant visitors but are not uncommon in Tennessee in the Winter months. Lesser Scaup drakes have a black head that has a greenish iridescence, black neck, chest and tail, white sides and a light grey back. The hens are a medium brown color with a slightly darker brown head.
Lesser Scaups are diving ducks that mostly eat aquatic snails, small crayfish, and aquatic insects. They are common on ponds, slower rivers, and lakes. The drakes are easily confused with the much less commonly seen Greater Scaup (greenish tinge to the black head). The drakes are also faintly similar to the drake Ring-Necked duck (white band near the end of the bill and the white on the shoulders and back of the neck). I am very happy to have seen these handsome ducks and took their picture on Feb. 20, 2012 in my yard. By the way, although we had a bit of snow two days ago, the snow had melted and yesterday was a sunny warmer day! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
Lesser Scaup Ducks, Red Head Ducks, Mallard Ducks, Northern Pintail Ducks, and the gorgeous Bufflehead Ducks were all in abundance on the 101 acre private community lake here on December 30, 2010, and December 31, 2010. I also took pictures of the Red Head Ducks on Jan. 1, 2011. The Lesser Scaup Ducks were in a large flock with many Mallard Ducks. There were also a few Canada Geese, Western Grebes, Pied-Billed Grebes and lots of American Coots out on the lake, too. The Scaups, Red Heads and Buffleheads are diving ducks and all seemed a bit smaller than the Mallards. The Ducks looked like they were in prime condition with brilliant feather colors. I so enjoyed seeing the huge numbers here! The Bufflehead Duck males are mostly white with black accents. The Bufflehead females, or hens, are dark brown with white accents, and look like almost an opposite of the male or drake. The Northern Pintail Duck has that upright stiff tail that is fairly long. The Mallard male has a green head, grey and buff body with charcoal accents. The female Mallard is mostly a medium tan with streaks of dark brown and white. The Lesser Scaup Ducks, Pintail Ducks, Red Heads and Buffleheads are migrant visitors. So are the Coots. We do have the Mallards here year around as we also have Wood Ducks off and on for most of the year. All are lovely! By the way, no hunting is allowed on or around the lake here. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
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!
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!
Greater Scaup Ducks are very rarely seen in the Cumberland County, TN area where I live on the Cumberland Plateau. Their slightly different cousins, the Lesser Scaup Ducks are regulars here in the fall and winter months. I am pretty sure that these two Scaups are in fact, Greater Scaups from the shape of the male or drake’s head and the greenish hue to the male’s head. The Scaup Ducks are diving ducks and they eat aquatic plants, small aquatic animals, and some grains. The male or drake Greater Scaup has a light grey-white body, black tail, very dark green head, and blackish green neck. The male has yellow eyes and a blue bill. The female Greater Scaup is brown with a white band just above its bill. The female Greater Scaup also has yellow eyes. The Greater Scaups breed in Alaska and Northern parts of the Mid-west. The Greater Scaups if seen in Tennessee are usually in the Western part of the state. I was thrilled to see this pair here on the lake on 11/28/10 in the morning. I took these pictures from my back deck using my telephoto lens. Please click on the thumbnail version to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
Yesterday we had a lot of visiting Ducks here! I went outside on the deck and looked at the lake and noticed that the Pintails were still here but were joined by some different Ducks. I saw a couple of drake or male, Bufflehead Ducks and several Lesser Scaup Ducks along with the American Coots, Pied-Billed Grebes and the Northern Pintails. Of course, the Greylag Goose and the Canada Geese are also still here. I am so excited to see the Bufflehead Ducks back again. Last Winter I took some pictures of Buffleheads here and posted them on this blog. I have never before seen the Scaups so that is a real treat. The Buffleheads are white and black with a mostly white head and black neck and back and a white chest and belly. The Buffleheads are very shy ducks, and are a lot like the Wood Ducks in their shyness. These Ducks were all located way out in the middle of the lake. They never came anywhere near the shoreline like the Grebes and Coots have. The Scaup males or drakes, are black and white with a blueish bill. The female or hen Lesser Scaup is dark brown, lighter brown and tan with a bit of buff around the eyes. The Scaups were mixed in with the Pintails. The Northern Pintails are brown and black and have those very distinctive turned-up long tail feathers. I took these pictures on 11/20/10 from my back deck. Please click on the thumbnail version to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
Buffleheads (Top), Northern Pintails
Male Bufflehead Duck
Buffleheads and Pintails