Daily Archives: August 4, 2018

Wood Ducks!

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I visited my most productive little birding pond, at Indian Riverside Park, late this morning and got a new bird for the blog, the sweet little Wood Duck.

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This is not the full-on iridescent patterned breeding male but a young and/or non-breeding male, according to my online research. Cornell Lab: Wood Duck overview.

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There were four Wood Ducks together on the pond. I think they are all non-breeding males, with the red eyes.

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One seemed to be preening another.

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Audubon.org: Wood Duck

Beautiful and unique, this duck of woodland ponds and river swamps has no close relatives, except for the Mandarin Duck of eastern Asia. Abundant in eastern North America in Audubon’s time, the Wood Duck population declined seriously during the late 19th century because of hunting and loss of nesting sites. Its recovery to healthy numbers was an early triumph of wildlife management.

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The map on the site shows they are common in all seasons in this area.

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Wood Ducks! Bird 183 on the blog life list.

Willets on Sanibel

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I collected some Willets for the blog a week and a half ago on Sanibel.

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We were at Lighthouse Beach on the south end of the island.

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A flock of Willets flew from somewhere over the Gulf and landed on the beach.

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The beach is famously made of lots of shells, especially in some spots. (I highly recommend the Shell Museum if you visit the island.)

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Also washed up on the beach: lots empty tubes of marine parchment worms.

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This was the first time I’ve seen a flock of Willets. On our beaches I see them in ones and twos.

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This one found a tiny crab.

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According to Cornell Lab…

Willets and other shorebirds were once a popular food. In his famous Birds of America accounts, John James Audubon wrote that Willet eggs were tasty and the young “grow rapidly, become fat and juicy, and by the time they are able to fly, afford excellent food.” By the early 1900s, Willets had almost vanished north of Virginia. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 banned market hunting and marked the start of the Willet’s comeback.

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These Willets came in two different colors: grayish brown with few markings and grayish brown with more brown mottling and markings.

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The more mottled plumage is a breeding adult, according to Cornell, vs the smoother non-breeding adult.

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There. Now we’ve had a good look at Willets.