08 April 2010

Not Just Another Mallard

. . . although this is not to say that I don't like mallards.  The glossy green feathers on the male are strikingly beautiful, no less so because it's a common species.

But until two weeks ago, and our Master Naturalist Class visit with expert birder Larry Weeks to the ponds at Smurfit-Stone, I had no idea what a spectacular variety of waterfowl we have here in western Montana.

It was a cold, blustery day (so windy, in fact, that our eyes teared up while we tried to look through our binoculars, and the spotting scopes shook in the gusts and nearly fell over once or twice), but birders, I am learning, don't let paltry things like wind, cold, snow, rain, hail, etc., keep them from their naturalist duty.  Despite the challenges, we were able to see and identify more than 20 bird species.

Until this field trip, I tended to look at a flock of waterfowl on a pond or river and think, "Oh, it's just a bunch of ducks."  I.e., they're all the same.  Little did I know.

Species we saw:
Canada goose
Northern Pintail (see below)

Gadwall
American Wigeon (see below)

Eurasian Wigeon
Northern Shoveler
Green-winged Teal (see below)

Lesser Scaup
Ring-necked Duck (see below)

Canvasback
Redhead (see below)

Bufflehead (see below)

American Coot
And . . . oh, yes, the Mallard!

2 comments:

  1. Great photographs. Thanks for sharing them.

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  2. The photos are actually from the Bird Friends of San Diego County website. Check out more at: http://www.bird-friends.com/index.html

    We hope to receive pictures from local birders in the future. If you have any, we would love to show them here!

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