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Saturday, September 6, 2014

Some Ducks

Ah, for the days when I imagined that bird identification was simply a matter of checking off significant features. What I am discovering as I plunge a little more deeply into actually trying to identify birds is that they wear different costumes at different times of the year as well as at different times during their lives. So any given species may have a a half dozen different costumes depending on its gender, age and whether it is breeding season or not. Thus I can tell you that the duck on the left above is a Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata) because of its very distinctive large flat bill. But I don't know its age or gender for sure. The yellow eye makes me think it's a male but the orange-ish bill makes me think it's a female. And though I've checked with several reputable field guides I can't really tell for sure whether it is a juvenile or an adult in non-breeding season plumage. In breeding season the male's distinctive plumage makes gender id easy and there don't appear to be any juveniles around at that time of year.

On the right above is a Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) but once again, for similar reasons, I am unable to be sure whether it is a male or female or a juvenile of either gender. Thanks to the internet I can check these identifications with more knowledgeable people on a local birding forum. I'll let you know what I find out.

Both of these ducks were photographed a few days ago at Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary on the outskirts of Victoria in Saanich.

1 comment:

William Kendall said...

They certainly do stand out!