Newfoundland Travel - Birding: Ducks


Eurasian wigeon eating dry vegetation while standing on a snow dusted water bank.
Eurasian wigeon eating dry vegetation while standing on a snow dusted water bank.

Hi there! I'm a Eurasian wigeon and, as you can see, I am wearing a fancy leg bracelet because I've been tagged before. Here I am standing on this snow dusted water bank at Quidi Vidi Lake eating a tasty meal of grassy vegetation in late February. It's so yummy! #birding #duck #eurasianwigeon #wigeon #nature #wildlife

Eurasian wigeon, its cinnamon colors vibrant, wades in a shallow pond, small ripples surrounding him.
The morning sun illuminates the vibrant cinnamon colors of this Eurasian Wigeon wading peacefully.

This is "Drake" , one of my brothers. He is somewhat bashful, don't you think? All of us male Eurasian Wigeons have a red head with a buff colored forehead, pale gray side bars, and a rusty colored breast. When we are in breeding plumage and trying to gain the attention of the ladies, our colors are really bright. Afterwards, we shed these feathers and grow a duller colored feather coat that makes it easier for us to hide from our enemies.

Male and female Eurasian wigeons swimming side by side.
Male and female Eurasian wigeons swimming side by side.

Here with Drake is his wife, Hen. Drake is the "prettier" one, don't you think? That's the way nature intended it, I guess. Male ducks need to "dress up" in their feathery best to get attention from the ladies. Oh the pressures! Females of most bird species have more earth-tone shades.

In the early morning light, the green eye highlights on this American Wigeon are captured beautifully.
In the early morning light, the green eye highlights on this American Wigeon are captured beautifully.

This is one of my cousins, Mr. American Wigeon. Although we share the same last name, he looks quite different than me, don't you think? He does not have my beautiful chestnut colored hair but, instead, has a green smudge around his eyes and is less vibrantly colored than me. #americanwigeon

Male northern shoveler wading in a lake in St. John's, Newfoundland.
Male northern shoveler wading in a lake in St. John's, Newfoundland.

OK, enough about me and my family. Meet some of my swimming buddies. This dude is Mr. Northern Shoveler. Just look at that huge honker. Isn't it amazing! He just loves to chase down all that bird seed that people leave at the lake. The inner edges of his beak are designed to filter out seeds (and small crustaceans) from the water. #northernshoveler

Male wood duck lovingly preening the feathers on its mate's neck.
Male wood duck lovingly preening the feathers on its mate's neck.

Aah, meet the show stoppers, the photogenic Mr. and Mrs. Wood Duck. Mr. Wood Duck loves his wife so much that he combs through her hair and grooms her every day. #woodduck

Female wood duck posing on a boulder at lakeshore in St. John's, Newfoundland.
Female wood duck posing on a boulder at lakeshore.

Mrs. Wood Duck is really small and tries to stay close to her husband. Around her eyes is a white teardrop shape that make it seem like she is wearing eye shadow! She has a brown and white speckled body and a crest of fine, gray colored, hair.

Observing his surroundings with his beak open, a male wood duck has his head resting on his chest as he looks behind him.
With his beak open, a male wood duck rests his head against his chest as he looks behind him.

Mr. Wood Duck has beautiful vibrant colors, a tri-color beak, and a fine crest of mohawk-style, spiked, hair. Sometimes, he keeps his hair slicked back but, WOW, when he unleashes it, the iridescent colored doo with white streaking is spellbinding. Even I am jealous! My gosh, I think he's laughing at me!

Eclipse male wood duck walking on the rocky shoreline of a fresh water lake.
Eclipse male wood duck walking on the rocky shoreline of a fresh water lake.

I wanted to show you a picture of Mr. Wood Duck wearing his "Eclipse" coat. All of us ducks have one of those that we wear in late summer after the breeding season is over. Did you know that, because we ducks molt our wing feathers all at once, we can't fly for about one month. This makes us especially vulnerable to attacks during that time. #eclipseplumage

Female hooded merganser, its cinnamon colored crest fully extended, is wading gracefully in a lake.
Female hooded merganser, its cinnamon colored crest fully extended, is wading gracefully in a lake.

Moving along to meet other feathered friends, let me introduce you to Mrs. Hooded Merganser. This little lady has an afro-style rust colored hairdo. She likes to dive frequently, something that makes her hard to find. Personally, I think she is enjoys playing a game of "now you see me; now you don't!" #hoodedmerganser

Male hooded mergansers displaying their head crests in a mating dance.
Male hooded mergansers displaying their head crests in a mating dance.

Well now, not too far from the lady are these two male Hooded Mergansers displaying their head crests in full extension in efforts to catch the attention of the females nearby. That head shape is certainly an attention grabber but, to me, they look just a little bit alien.

Northern pintail, wings by its side, flapping its wings while standing in a lake.
Northern pintail, wings by its side, flapping its wings while standing in a lake.

Oh, hello Mr. Northern Pintail. Yes, I see you waving at me. I'll be right over. Don't get your feathers all ruffled! This one is so needy, lol. I kind of like how his long pin shaped tail flattens over the top of the water when he stands tall. #northernpintail

Northern pintail swimming in a fresh water lake in St. John's, Newfoundland.
Northern pintail swimming in a fresh water lake in St. John's, Newfoundland.

Here he is again, this time showing off his "good side". The green shade behind his eyes becomes iridescent when the light catches. Another of his proud features is that elegant long tail.

Northern pintail male and female swimming side by side in a lake in St. John's, Newfoundland.
Northern pintail male and female swimming side by side in a lake in St. John's, Newfoundland.

One last photo of Mr. Northern Pintail, this one with his wife by his side.


Greater yellowlegs walking past an American black duck on a grassy sod in a lake.
Greater yellowlegs walking past an American black duck on a grassy sod in a lake.

The next duck I'd like to introduce is the American Black Duck. Hey Mr. Duck, I know you're awake. I can see one eye open as you watch that greater yellowlegs walking in front of your grassy sod in the lake. #americanblackduck #greateryellowlegs

Mallard duck, wings open and legs down, is preparing to land on a pond in St. John's, Newfoundland.
Mallard duck, wings open and legs down, is preparing to land on a pond in St. John's, Newfoundland.

Not too far away is Mr. Mallard, one of the most common ducks who spends time at my watering hole. He looks kind of amazing, doesn't he? I think he is looking for me in the water below but I'm trying to fool him and hiding amongst a large circle of birds. #mallard

Ring necked duck wading in a pond in St. John's, Newfoundland.
Ring necked duck wading in a pond in St. John's, Newfoundland.

Next, meet the ring-necked duck. She hides the ring really well but, I think, just likes to puzzle people who always ask the question: "Why is she called a ring necked duck. I can't see the ring." She's quite the interesting character. #ringnecckedduck

Male tufted duck, wings open and legs parted, flying over a pond in St. John's, Newfoundland.
Male tufted duck, wings open and legs parted, flying over a pond in St. John's, Newfoundland.

Well, well, well, will you look at this! Here comes Mr. Tufted Duck. Those eyes, they hypnotize me every time! He looks like he's in a hurry to see me. I'd better move aside because he looks like he may crash! #tuftedduck

Tufted duck, its ponytail visible, wading in a lake in St. John's, Newfoundland.
Tufted duck, its ponytail visible, wading in a lake in St. John's, Newfoundland.

Alas, all went well and he landed comfortably. Here he is strutting his stuff and showing off his beautiful ponytail. He certainly seems more comfortable in the water than when he is flying. Sometimes he is hard to see because, like other diving ducks, he is there one minute and out of sight, underwater, in the next minute!

Gadwell duck standing in a grassy bank near the shore of a fresh water lake.
Gadwell duck standing in a grassy bank near the shore of a fresh water lake.

Here is Mr. Gadwell who is out for a morning walk along the grassy water banks. His black rump patch is less visible here than when he is in water or flying. #gadwell

Gadwell duck fishing in a fresh water lake in St. John's, Newfoundland.
Gadwell duck fishing in a fresh water lake in St. John's, Newfoundland.

Aah, don't let me interrupt your meal, Mr. Gadwell. I'll move on and catch up with you later.

Female greater scaup, side profile, wading in the fresh water lake in St. John's, Newfoundland.
Female greater scaup, side profile, wading in the fresh water lake in St. John's, Newfoundland.

Let's stop and speak to Mrs. Greater Scaup. She is "giving me the eye" so I know better not to pass her by! I am sometimes embarrassed to stop and chat with her because I have mistaken her a Lesser Scaup in the past. When this happens, she gets a bit snooty and tells me that she looks nothing like that "pointed head" poser! #greaterscaup #scaup

Male Greater scaup wading in a lake in St. John's, Newfoundland.
Male Greater scaup wading in a lake in St. John's, Newfoundland.

Here is her husband, Mr. Greater Scaup, who seems to be enjoying a rare private moment. Goodness, he seems to be smiling! Don't you just love how his tail fans on the water surface.

Eurasian wigeon, its wings spread widely, glides in the clear blue sky.
Eurasian wigeon, its wings spread widely, glides in the clear blue sky.

Well, I hope you enjoyed meeting me and some of my feathered cohorts. I've certainly enjoyed the time I've spent with you but now I have to fly and find the little missus!












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