Black-bellied Whistling Ducks and Hooded Merganser Ducks have been around in the local ponds and small lakes here. I enjoy watching both but tend to be really wowed by the brown, black and white cuties with their vivid pink bills (you know which I mean). Yes, the ducks here are charming! The Hooded Mergansers are migratory here while the whistlers may be local to the region.
The Hooded Mergansers are diving ducks and fish by diving down to catch small fish, frogs, tadpoles, crayfish, large aquatic snails, small tender turtles or larger aquatic insects. The Black-bellied Whistling Ducks are more open to eating both meat and vegetation. They are like their cousins the Mallards in that aspect. Both of these ducks are excellent fliers!
I took these pictures here in my neighborhood and in a nearby neighborhood during the last several weeks. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger picture. Merry Christmas! I won’t be posting on Friday but will catch up on Saturday. See you then!
Lesser Scaup Ducks have been here in a small flock for the last few weeks. They are migratory Winter visitors to our lakes and ponds. These cute medium-sized diving ducks are beautiful with the drakes being basic tuxedo black, and white and a touch of barred grey. The hens are a lovely dark and light brown. Both have broad blue bills.
The Lesser Scaups like the conditions in fresh water better than that of salt water, which is a major difference between them and the Greater Scaups. I took these pictures on December 17, 1015 and again on December 18, 2015. This post and the one I will write for Wednesday, will be about ducks. No post on Christmas but I will catch up on Saturday. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
The Black-bellied Whistling Ducks were still paddling, strolling, and flying around at Tuscawilla Park in Ocala, Florida, when I took these pictures on March 20, 2015. I love these cuties!
“Whistlers” have such personality, just standing around, they are adorable! These ducks like their name implies, have a call that is a whistling sound – similar to the Wood Ducks. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
This flock of Blue Winged Teal ducks was spotted on a large pond in Levy County, Florida on November 15, 2014. I was traveling back from my adventure at Cedar Key and saw this flock on the water a bit of distance from the highway. I believe this is a migratory flock of Teals. There were about twenty-five or so ducks on the water while I was there.
Of course, seeing the ducks, I had to stop and take some snap-shots. The drakes or males, have the white crescent on their cheeks above the bill, but the females do not have this distinctive marking. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy! Have a happy Thanksgiving!
A group of four Mallard Ducks reluctantly joined that lone Bufflehead drake a week ago on the little farm pond. The drake Bufflehead spotted the much larger Mallard Ducks and wanted to say hello. I wish I could say that the Mallards were hospitable, but basically they just acknowledged the presence of the little white and black duck and then ignored it. The ducks did spend a moment doing some preening or grooming their feathers. That preening is very important as the feathers must stay clean in order to help the ducks float and also stay warm. I took these pictures last week in my yard. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger photo. Enjoy!
This little drake Bufflehead Duck visited the pond here on February 14, 2013 when I snapped these pictures. This is the first time a Bufflehead Duck has been at the pond this season. I did not see any other Buffleheads with this particular one. The Buffleheads are diving ducks. They are smaller than a lot of other ducks and have a white and black coloration. The drakes are white and black with the hens being dark charcoal grayish-black and white. Hen Bufflehead Ducks are almost a perfect opposite of the drakes.
The big problem for these attractive ducks is that they happen to be a favorite food of several large raptors, primarily Bald Eagles! It is a good thing that they can stay underwater for a good length of time in their dives. For a long time while I watched this drake Bufflehead, it was the only duck out on the water of the pond. After awhile, I did see a quartet of Mallards come out and paddle around. The Bufflehead approached the larger Mallards, but they did not seem too receptive of socializing with the white and black duck. I took these pictures in my yard on Valentine’s Day. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
Hybrid Mallard hen and Mallard drake
The migratory ducks here at both the little farm pond and the small private lake are interesting to watch. I have been thrilled to see a medium-sized flock of Ring-necked Ducks (black and white/brown and tan), and the Mallard Ducks. The Mallards pretty much stick to the pond. There have been a couple of drake Ring-necks here at the pond but they seem to have just been here to explore. The Ring-necks have usually been way out in the middle of the lake. They eat fish and also certain aquatic plants. The Mallards are more interested in shoreline plants, and insects.
I do not have access to the lake so I shoot my photographs from the street above the shoreline. That area us across the street from where I live. I am hopeful that I will see several other kinds of ducks here but this year has been different, duck-wise. There are Bufflehead Ducks at a large lake a few miles from here so who knows? Maybe I will have a few here soon. I took these pictures on Jan. 19, 2013. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!