Friday, March 19, 2010

Spring IS coming...

waterfowl--yesterday's sketchtrip

Migrating waterfowl are providing something new to see almost every time I drive out to the lake--this time, it was a mixed flotilla of black-headed birds, some with lighter bodies.  My photo taken with my little digital wasn't good enough for a positive ID, so we went back out with Joseph's spotting scope.  We've decided there were American coots amongst the blue-billed Lesser Scaups...

Lots of fun to watch them feeding among last year's reeds and stems...NBII
("National Biological Information Infrastructure," I see why they use an acronym!) has an interesting article about Scaup's migration patterns as well as their life history...we'll see them for quite a while, since they may still be migrating northward in mid-May.  They're considered one of the most abundant diving ducks in the US.

I wish I could have seen the coot on land--they've got longish legs and interesting lobed feet, unlike a duck's webbed foot.  Still efficient "paddles" for wading, though...more on coots HERE...

And DON'T you wonder where the expression "you old coot" came from?!?


  1. The watercolor farm background is equally as good as the duck in the foreground. Amazing actually!

  2. Thank you, Bob! Cooley Lake is a Missouri Department of Conservation wildlife area that used to be part of that family's farm--on one side of the road is the old oxbow lake, on the other is still fields and silos...neat juxtaposition.

  3. Thank you, Pam, I loved being OUT there...

  4. I live in the northeast and this is a great time of year( end Jan to mid April) to get a "gander" at all the ducks that winter along the eastern seaboard. They put our year-round mallards and canadian geese to shame! I spent a few years living in a house that faced north on Barnegat Bay, along the Atlantic coast, and it was heaven for duckwatching! My favorites are the mergansers, either the Red-breasted or the absolutely gorgeous little Hooded Mergansers. If you don't know what they look like, try google images. There can't be a prettier duck!

    This is an awesome blog, I have to spend more time here!

  5. We'll be glad to have you visit! Yep, Mergansers are very cool, indeed...I haven't seen one out there. Sounds like you lived in a wonderful place...


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