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.
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.
There were four Wood Ducks together on the pond. I think they are all non-breeding males, with the red eyes.
One seemed to be preening another.
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.
The map on the site shows they are common in all seasons in this area.
Wood Ducks! Bird 183 on the blog life list.
Discovered: the most buoyant substance on earth… eider ducklings!
These tiny little fluff balls tackle the waves and waters of the alongshore North Atlantic with aplomb!
The mothers (and aunties?) do all the duckling care, leading them and taking turns watching them in groups known as creches.
Mother Common Eiders lead their young to water, and often are accompanied by nonbreeding hens that participate in chick protection. Broods often come together to form “crèches” of a few to over 150 ducklings.
A tiny, tiny duck.
Bufflehead female on Eel Pond a few days ago.
Bufflehead are North America’s smallest diving duck; they benefit by using old flicker nests that larger ducks such as goldeneyes and mergansers cannot fit into. In winter they occur mainly near the coast (although they can be found in smaller numbers inland). They use shallow, sheltered coves, harbors, estuaries, or beaches, avoiding open coastlines.
A pair of Bufflehead spotted from a viewing platform in Awcomin Marsh, Rye this morning.
A buoyant, large-headed duck that abruptly vanishes and resurfaces as it feeds, the tiny Bufflehead spends winters bobbing in bays, estuaries, reservoirs, and lakes. Males are striking black-and white from a distance. A closer look at the head shows glossy green and purple setting off the striking white patch. Females are a subdued gray-brown with a neat white patch on the cheek. Bufflehead nest in old woodpecker holes, particularly those made by Northern Flickers, in the forests of northern North America.
Mallard mama and ducklings in a pond on Star Island.