Tag Archives: Wood Duck

Around and around the pond we go,/ what birds we’ll see, we never know

Pond at Indian RiverSide Park, Jensen Beach yesterday around 1 p.m.

I submitted an eBird checklist for this visit: HERE it is.

Little Blue Heron grabbed a Big Brown Bug from the grass, dropped it in the water for a second, then swallowed it whole.

What does that feel like, I wonder.

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks were on hand, two by two.

This Green Heron is a juvenile.

Mottled Ducks were chasing each other all over the pond, in a minor commotion I thought might be due to some new arrivals sorting out the pecking order. Except this one duck was alone in the reeds.

Green Heron. Fluffy neck feathers.

I haven’t seen a Green Heron here before. This one was pretty shy so I didn’t go too close or stay too long in that spot.

Raised crest, seems a bit alarmed. Okay, I’m moving on!

The Tricolored Heron would dance around in front of me all day and never mind.

And Egyptian Geese walk right up to you to see if you have food. (A guy stopped by and fed them peanuts while I was there.)

The other pair of Whistling Ducks, on the other side of the pond, was near the Common Gallinule family.

Flyover of about 40 pigeons while I was there, but only one scruffy bird bothered to land… on a trashcan.

Adult gallinule.

The young ‘uns.

Three chicks, one adult in this pic. The whole family I’ve been seeing consistently,  of 2 parents and 4 chicks, was present.

Egyptian Geese and gallinule chicks.

Wood Ducks made an appearance.. Looks like a couple of non-breeding/ juvenile males and a female.

Mottled Duck and Wood Ducks.

Pond scene.

I was driving off but had to roll down my window and zoom in on this charming sight: a White Ibis sunning itself like my chickens used to do.

You’re adorable!

Why Do Birds Sunbathe?

Many birds are observed sunning even on the hottest days, however, and it is believed that sunning can fulfill purposes other than just temperature regulation. Sunning can help birds convert compounds in their preening oil – secreted from a gland at the base of the tail – into vitamin D, which is essential for good health. If the birds have been in a bird bath or swimming, sunning can help their feathers dry more quickly so they can fly easier, without being weighed down by excess water. It is even believed that some birds sun themselves for pure enjoyment and relaxation, much the same way humans will sunbathe.

The most important reason for sunning, however, is to maintain feather health. Sunning can dislodge feather parasites because the excess heat will encourage insects to move to other places in a bird’s plumage. This will give the bird easier access to get rid of those parasites when preening, and birds are frequently seen preening immediately after sunning. It is essential to get rid of these parasites – the tiny insects that infect feathers can cause problems for a bird’s flight, insulation and appearance, all of which can impact its survival.

Sunday morning pond loop

IMG_6589-2

I looped the pond at Indian RiverSide Park on Sunday morning and kept track of the birds I saw for an eBird checklist: LINK.

IMG_6595-2

White Ibis, ten of them, preening mostly.

IMG_6598-2

Ibises plus an Anhinga drying his wings in the sun.

IMG_6601-2

The morning light was lovely. Birds are a great way to start the day!

IMG_6618-2

White Ibis close up.

IMG_6620-2

Paying attention to feathers.

IMG_6627-2

Florida Mottled Ducks, I believe.

There were 14 of them.  But I marked them on the checklist as Mallard/ Mottled because I was not 100 percent sure that there were not a few hybrids mixed in.

IMG_6644-2

The Wood Ducks were still there from the day before.

IMG_6648-2

The Mottled Ducks were parading past the Wood Ducks.

4woodducks

Four Wood Ducks, all young/ non-breeding males?

IMG_6655-2

The duck scene got even busier when a couple of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks flew in.

IMG_6656-2

Duck city.

bbwducks

The handsome and interesting Black-bellied Whistling Ducks.

IMG_6659-2

Side-by-side duck comparison.

IMG_6665-2

Then the little not-duck, a Common Gallinule, came across the pond.

IMG_6678-2

It checked in on my side of the pond then paddled back to the reeds on the other side.

IMG_6701-2

When I walked to that side of the pond I witnessed a charming parent-child moment, as the adult and chick shared a nibble of a little green plant.

IMG_6703-2

Common Gallinule chick.

IMG_6710-2IMG_6715-2

There were four chicks and two adults in the reeds.

IMG_6719-2

Audubon: Common Gallinule

Adaptable and successful, this bird is common in the marshes of North and South America. It was formerly considered to belong to the same species as the Common Moorhen, widespread in the Old World. The gallinule swims buoyantly, bobbing its head; it also walks and runs on open ground near water, and clambers about through reeds and cattails above the water. Related to the American Coot and often found with it, but not so bold, spending more time hiding in the marsh.

IMG_6725-2

Funny, fluffy little creatures.

IMG_6726-2

This is their part of the pond.

Wood Ducks!

IMG_6555-2

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.

IMG_6560-2

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.

IMG_6569-2

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

IMG_6571-2

One seemed to be preening another.

IMG_6573-2

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.

IMG_6575-2

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

IMG_6576-2

Wood Ducks! Bird 183 on the blog life list.

Front yard birds

IMG_7335-2

I walked out the front door and a pair of Wood Ducks zipped past and landed in the strangler fig on the border of our front yard Friday morning.

IMG_7338-2

The male.

I went inside to get my camera and managed a couple of shots before they flew off.

IMG_7339-2

Then later that day the roof guys finished our new metal roof. When we came back from errands, my husband spotted a Little Blue Heron perched up there.

IMG_7343-2

Close up.

IMG_7344-2

Nice weathervane.