My first post of 2021 is pretty big, 22 photos from the last week of 2020 and New Year’s Day 2021. Apologies to subscribers for the extra big email. We’re starting off 2021 in a bit of a hole but I sure hope that it will turn out as bright as these birds.
I was looking for Crossbills but this Red-breasted Nuthatch insisted that I take his photograph instead.
I posted some photos of Eider courtship a while back. Bufflehead are courting as well. The males “run” across the water and fly by the females to show off. She doesn’t appear all that interested in the middle picture.
This duck has an appropriate name: Goldeneye.
Purple Sandpipers resting on the rocks in Gloucester.
And yet another Long-tailed Duck flyby. This has been an especially good year for them.
White-winged Scoters chowing down and flying about. Yes, that Scoter will swallow the shellfish whole. They have an extra large and powerful gizzard. They will swallow some mussels, clams, etc. and then grind them to a pulp while they rest in the water.
These are two male Red-breasted Mergansers in flight and a female resting between dives.
A lot of freshwater ducks winter in my area since there is always some open water for them, especially near river mouths and in marshes near the ocean. This first duck is a Mallard – Black Duck hybrid. Notice the touch of green on the head. Hybridization between these ducks is fairly common. Those are Gadwalls in the second picture with their distinctive black butt.
Common Eiders…female, male and immature male.
Male Black Scoters fly by a raft of ducks that includes Black Scoters, Eiders and one male White-winged Scoter with its white patch under the eye.
These are immature male Black Scoters. They don’t have the full orange knob on their beaks yet.
And finally, my first good looks at Grebes this winter. They were foraging fairly close to shore and close to each other. They don’t have their more colorful plumage this time of year though. The “no butt” Grebe body plan is evident. The top bird is a Horned Grebe and the bottom is a Red-necked Grebe.
I am looking forward to sharing more photos in what should develop into a better year than the last one.