Ducklings in the Wetlands

Top Photo: Mallard duck with two of her six ducklings. Ranger Molly informed me she saw a mallard duck and six ducklings in our wetlands over the weekend. On my next trip into the wetlands, I spotted the family in the swamp across from the Main Wetlands Overlook. A pair of mallards had been hanging around the wetlands the entire spring, had disappeared for a while early on, but had returned. Sometime later in the season they had again goneRead more

Ducks Heads

Top Photo: Male mallard swims away. Do you notice anything odd about this duck? Everyone has seen a mallard. To most people mallards are the duck. Let’s face it, they’re everywhere. They’re the most common duck across the northern hemisphere and part of the southern. They can be found in North and South America, Europe, Asia and parts of the African continent. They’re even in Greenland, Australia and New Zealand. If asked, what color is a mallard’s head? most peopleRead more

Duck Duties

Top Photo: Drake feeds as duck preens. Ducks take preening, as do all birds, very seriously. After all, feathers are an important part of their lives. Feathers keep them cool in summer, warm in winter, dry both in and out of the water, and allows them to fly. Feather care is an essential part of their daily routine. Birds even have a built-in oil gland (uropygial gland) located on their backs just forward of the tail. If you watch aRead more

Mallard Surprise

Top Photo: Six of 14 mallard ducklings in wetlands. I got a call on the radio telling me that there were, “a bunch of baby ducks swimming around in the wetlands,” specifically, the swampy area on the west side of the path near the Main Wetlands Overlook. I went to investigate. They were mallards, a female and at least thirteen ducklings (a later count totaled 14 ducklings). The ducklings were frantically feeding as the mother carefully swam along with them,Read more

Drop-In Ducks

Above: common goldeneye (top center) with hooded mergansers. Hooded mergansers are regular winter waterfowl visitors to the museum. But, we occasionally have other waterfowl drop in. On Thursday, November 7, I spotted a female common goldeneye mixed in with the regulars. Goldeneyes are not common here on the Piedmont. In fact, they’re listed as rare to uncommon in our area at this time of year, which means some goldeneyes may be in the area, but you may or may notRead more

Winter Continues

We’ve had both warm and cold weather so far this season, mostly warm. Regardless of the temperature, things are rolling along as always; sunny days bring out turtles to bask, ducks feed, court, and rest in our wetland, and Mahonia blooms as it always does this time of year on the Dinosaur Trail and elsewhere around the campus. There seems to have been an unusual amount of fungi this fall and winter, perhaps due to the significant rain we’ve experienced.Read more

Black Duck

  Three American black ducks showed up in the Wetlands on the Fourth of July. I’d not previously recorded black ducks here at the Museum, so it’s noteworthy that the ducks appeared today. They all appear to be males. Wood duck, mallard, blue-winged teal, hooded merganser, redhead and bufflehead are the members of the duck family on my list of duck visitors. Black ducks become number 7 on the list.     Happy Fourth!Read more

Mallards, sort of

Besides the hooded mergansers and buffleheads swimming around our Wetlands, an old familiar male mallard has stopped in, with a different female than I’d seen him with previously.       I know this is the same drake mallard because of his plumage, he is not pure mallard. This drake has some domestic duck mixed in. The fact is, there are probably few pure mallards in our area although their plumage may or may not appear to be purebred mallard.Read more

Spring Too

Spring progresses, interupted occassionally by sleet, snow and freezing rain, but still progresses. In between the bouts of the above mentioned weather I’ve photographed proof that spring is here and that it can’t be reversed. And finally, not necessarily a sign of spring but just a nice portrait of Red Wolf 1414 as he surveys his limited domain. Spring forth!    Read more

Visitors

There’s a Great Egret dead center in the above photo. Great Egrets are infrequent visitors here at the Museum. I believe the last one that I saw here was in 2012 during the August heat. Most sightings are during the winter, however. The winter of 2011/2012 was busy with herons and egrets. A Great Egret and an “outsider” Great Blue Heron worried our local Great Blue to a frazzle for most of that winter until they nearly exhausted the supplyRead more