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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Buffleheads (Bucephala albeola)

The lovely little diving ducks are called Buffleheads (Bucephala albeola). They were swimming and diving quite energetically offshore of the West Bay Walkway when I noticed a large Harbour Seal (right below) approaching them.

The seal dived and a few moments later all the ducks were in flight. Seals are occasionally known to opportunistically attack sea birds and I suspect these little ducks must look as inviting from beneath the surface as they do above. The event was a little reminder that the animals we observe in these peaceful natural scenes probably see their environment quite differently from how we view it.

5 comments:

Dean Lewis said...

Interesting consideration, .. what is the diet of a seal? Mostly fish likely, and clams & mussels etc., I bellieve they also like sea urchens, but they may have an omniferousness also. Probably don't like spitting out all the feathers.

Mike Laplante said...

Floating around the Internet are a couple of eye-opening videos...
One shows some pelicans and pigeons casually feeding together on a lawn. Suddenly one pelican snatches up an unsuspecting pigeon and swallows it whole.
The other vid shows a pigeon calmly drinking water among a bunch of turtles at a pond somewhere. One of the turtles suddenly snatches the pigeon in its mouth and drags it off into the water, presumably for lunch.
Nature is capricious...

billyB said...

My first visit to your blog and what beautiful pictures. I'll make the effort to return.

JoJo said...

What a funny name, "Buffleheads". I agree, nature can be brutal. I can't/won't watch nature shows if the animals are chasing and eating each other.

There's a cute commercial that's running in the states, not sure what it's for, but the lyrics go, "yeah we get along, and we sing a song" and all the animals are hanging out together. The crocs are giving meerkats (or some fuzzy animal) a ride on their backs, the lions are hanging out w/ the wildebeasts, etc. That's the way I prefer to think of nature!

Dean Lewis said...

There is no question that the competition between species is real and while many just ignore one another, others are in clearly defined predator/prey relations.
The famous Battle at Kruger video shows just how far one species will cooperatively go to protect it's own, and demonstrates the instinctive nature of morality for the survival of a social grouping.