High water

The water is up today, due to recent rains, and I thought this mallard duck looked so sad.  He just sat there all alone on the edge of the bank, almost as if he was pouting about the fact he couldn’t get in the water.

Later, he tucked his head in and seemed to be resting. I couldn’t help but wonder how he could relax with flooding water whipping at his feet.  You would think he would back up in case a big wave came, but apparently he was not concerned.

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a little closer view:

See how the water is already lapping up over the rock wall he is sitting on?  Yet he seems rather nonchalant about the whole thing.

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Female Mallard Duck

I know the males have the brighter colors,
but I also think the color pattern on the female mallard duck is quite pretty.

Sorry the photo is not very sharp, it’s heavily cropped in.  These are very wild mallards not the ones people toss food to at parks and such.  LOL  They don’t like to let anyone too close.

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American Black Duck

We’ve had this different duck hanging around all winter and now thanks to Tom and his blog post here,  I now know it is an American Black Duck.  I’m really happy to finally know what it is.  After reading Tom’s post I did some reading on them and everything fits, even down to its behavior.  It is so much more skittish than the Mallards.  Even a little chickadee flying into the feeder will scare it so bad that it will jump backwards 3 feet.  It is hard to photograph it because it spooks so easily.  So the photos below aren’t great, because they are heavily cropped.  It won’t let me get close enough to get a decent shot, even on full telephoto.  I won’t even try to guess if it’s beak shade is dark enough to be a male or a female.  It’s usually under the shadow of this big pine when I see it, making it hard to tell from so far away.

I feel kind of sorry for it.  It seems so lonely.  It hangs near the Mallards.  They don’t chase it off, but they don’t really accept it either.  Maybe another will show up eventually so it has some company.

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If you would like to read more on the American Black Duck, here is a  link to more info on Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s website.
Interestingly, they say it is only present here during winter and not during mating season.  But the mallards are mating here and it’s still here.  I don’t recall ever seeing one here before though (regardless of time of year).

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Odd duck out

This made for some interesting duck watching.  But after awhile I started to feel sorry for the odd duck out.  This day there were several pairs of Mallard ducks in the creek.  But one odd male duck that was left out.  And apparently the other male ducks did not want him around.  One in particular refused to let him get too close, and was chasing him off regularly.

Here he is being ran off again:

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And again:

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And he’s already coming back for more:

This went on for a long time.  They were still doing it when I moved on to other shots.

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Mallards and an unidentified Duck

These were all shot from a distance, so they aren’t fantastic photographs.  But worth looking at for the odd duck if nothing else.

I was spotted early on…

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These four mallards are regulars at my parent’s feeders near the creek.

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Now below is the odd duck.  Sorry for the blurriness but it’s the best I could do so very far away.
It appears to be mostly black, but my mother (who has had opportunities to view the duck much closer) says that even though it appears black from a distance, it actually has a pattern on the lower part, much like the female mallard – but much much darker.  As you can see there are two little white lines on the wings (like the female mallards have).  And a big white patch on the lower neck/upper breast.

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Here’s a few more:

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I thought this next one was neat.  I was spooking them trying to get a little closer, and I caught this photo of one of the females with her wings raised, about to go into the creek.

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As you can sort of see in this photo below, it is more similar in size to the females than the males as well.

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As you can see in this next photo the appearance it gives while in the water is of an almost all black duck.

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In this one I got it stretching up and showing off its white neck.

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Again, I apologize for the poor photo quality but I was just happy to get it on film.  It’s been coming around down there off and on for a couple of weeks.  But this was the first day I was able to get any photos of it at all.  If I get the opportunity to get some better ones, I will post them.  If anyone has any thoughts on an explanation for the color pattern of this duck, I’d like to hear it.  I have heard of Mallards cross breeding with other ducks.  And my mother has seen a couple of wood ducks down there this year – for the first time ever.  The wood ducks are not regulars though.

If I were to just guess, I would say that it is probably a female and either an odd color variation of the Mallard duck, or the result of a cross breeding between a Mallard and some other duck.

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