Duck Season

We are entering duck season along the Atlantic coast as the sea ducks move in from the north and some fresh water ducks move to coastal ponds and marshes. These are some of my finds in the past week. Of course, Mallards are ubiquitous.

We are seeing good numbers of Northern Pintails. The male has a racing stripe running up his neck. The female isn’t as flashy but has a nice mottled pattern with an elegantly long neck.

Green-winged Teal (top) and American Wigeon (bottom) have a green mask in common but are easy to distinguish otherwise. These two males were swimming quite close to each other.

Scoters are sea ducks that winter off the coast of New England. I managed to get a quick photo of two of the three types as they flew past me. This is a White-winged Scoter flying over the heavy surf.

A fast flying bird caught my eye as it flew across the broad mouth of the Merrimack River. I didn’t realize what it was until I looked at the picture. It’s a Surf Scoter with its distinctive bill coloring and white patch on the back of his head.

They appear to be flying up hill as they fly with their heads up. And they are really fast, but I managed to catch this one flying upriver. Note the long tail feathers that give this duck its name.

Next time, some more birds from the past week.

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