I'm not so great at recognizing waterfowl, but I'm trying to improve that. Ellen and I recognized a few yesterday that I'm not even showing you today. We saw mallards, and buffleheads. It's not that they aren't nice ducks, but we are both trying to sort out some of the ones we don't know. Thanks to binoculars and the zoom lens, I can identify some of them now. I'll show the poorest picture first.
On the left is a male Scaup, the question is... Greater or Lesser. I guessed Lesser, but local bird expert Dave Dister things Greater, so that works for me! So it's Aythya marila. Notice its pointy head. Behind it, the other duck in profile, is the female with that white patch behind her bill. Sorry the pictures are fuzzy, but I had the lens all the way out, including optical zoom, and was just holding the camera by hand. These were on Pere Marquette Lake, the deep lake that connects with Lake Michigan. It's where the carferries dock.
Here's a duck that I saw last spring on Nordhouse Lake. However, the ducks decided to be confusing. They were swimming in "unmatched" pairs. The duck in front is a female ring-necked duck, Aythya Collaris. The duck behind her is a female common merganser, Mergus merganser. Maybe they are enjoying a bit of conversation without the boys around.
Here is Mr. ring-neck. I know... the ring is around his beak. But the books say that the neck is cinnamon color, but is hard to see in the field. So you just have to do some mental gymnastics with the name.
This is the best picture I got. This is the male common merganser. Yes, this stunning guy goes with the lady with the brown crest. He can raise his crest too when he wants to. There's a link below to the post where I captured one flying in to Pentwater Lake. The ones today are on Lincoln Lake, a wide place just before Lincoln River empties into Lake Michigan.
However, this is the "best" find of the day. The duck in front of that male ring-neck is a merganser that I've never seen before. At least, I didn't know it if I did. At first, I wasn't paying attention. It was swimming with the ring-necked pair and the female common merganser. But it's not a common merganser, it's a red-breasted merganser. Look how different it is- the white stripe around its neck, the brown spotted breast and that row of spots at the base of the wing. Very cool. And if it's really common... I don't care. It's new for me.
|See Bird Days for the ring-necked duck last spring
See A Waterfowl Puzzle for another merganser