Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Ducks Of The Vermilon River. A Post to WBW.

Male Buffle-head. Female Buffle-head opposite.
 Previous to this year ducks have been my "prey" birds. They preyed upon me by never giving me any opportunties to get any photos of them. It seemed to be going the same way this year after I got the Buffle-heads. The Vermilon reacting to a rainy spring flooded and away went the aquatic guys. It was not until I found ways into new wetlands that my world changed.
Both the Buffle-heads and the Ring-necked ducks shown  below are real finds because the distribution map shows them to the north of me . Likely they're here because of the regenerated forest with its food sources. I think also contributing to my expanding wildlife lineup is knowing where to find them. What trails have what food and water sources and when. This is applicable to all the wildlife. As well, my forest savy is improving. For instance the other day I passed two sets of people with dogs who told me not much was around. I got shots of a river beaver, otters in a wetland,and a close up of a Ruffled Grouse. That doesn't mean Boom and I have turned into Grizzly Adams!! At least not yet.

The Wood Ducks which are really colourful were mainly in the new wetlands. The trail is raised and runs in a circle so eventually you end up close to them, and the cat tails form a natural blind. Still they're not at all habituated and will take off at the least sound or movement. They're not at all urban pond ducks.

Male Wood Duck Here and above and in flight.

These are flights of Wood Ducks.

 These two photos are female Wood Ducks, recognizable by the white eye liners.

 The next two are Blue-winged Teals.The colour in their wing feathes is an incredible blue. You can see it most vividly in the third photo, as well as in the pair flying in tandem

 The Cormorants shouldn't be in with the ducks, but since they're another first for me, I've included them in the post. These compilations of types of birds gives me a record of what I've seen and learned to identify, although  mostly with the help of others. It means, I hope, that I don't have to learn it all over again. A Post to WBW @ http://pineriverreview.blogspot.com/

 Strangely enough, these are the few shots that I have of Mallards, the most common of the ducks. They always seem to evade me. But it's quite a collection of ducks over all isn't it?
My last post was about my companion Boomer. Of course, he got rave reads, and comments. No, I'm not going to drop" me"from the blog title. One comment from Arija in Australia who said her husband had the most respect for the Malamute from his work in the Antarctic and the Artic. This comment reminded me of the story of Oscar, a Greenlander Husky, I expect another name for Malamutes. The story was written by a Norwegian/Australian transplant who was the dog trainer on the Early Australian Antarctic expeditions. Oscar was one of his best who fought his way to lead dog. The story has many comical, and brave instances, but Oscar was retired when mechanized equipment came into the Antarctic. The dog teams were reduced, and Oscar was retired honourably to a zoo in Australia where he spent his time receiving visitors. The Australians soon realized the error when equipment failed and there was no dog backup.  Oscar was quickly plucked from retirement, and sent to sire more dogs. Hmm, not a bad job. One night when Oscar realized, as only a dog can, that his grip on leadership was failing, he went out into the cold night and never returned. By now there is not a dry eye in the house of course, but think about it. Here I am recounting the story of Oscar who passed, but whose spirit I'm passing on. I can't even remember the name of the writer, but the dog is vivid in my mind. That's surely a lesson. Arija the story was carried in one of those compilation series like Reades' Digest. Maybe you or your husband can track it down.
Cormorant In Flight.


  1. Gary, what a great story. My poor old Prof doesn't remember much these days, someone has deleted the greater part of his memory bank. I don/t remember Oskar particularly but I do remember the last dog team that was retired from Antarctica and came to the Melbourne zoo. That was when we were still living in Melbourne and people looked at me in horror as I put my hands through the wire to comfort these amazing dogs left without a job to do. On their cage was the same sort of sign as for lions and tigers about how dangerous they were. The poor things were starved for affection. There are quite a few Malamutes around our area, they even have sled races (with wheels). We have no snow in winter and very hot summers, not really an ideal climate for them.

    I'm most impressed you bagged all those super skittish duck and in flight too!

  2. Marvellous ducks Gary! The wood ducks are my fave, such fabulous markings and colour.

  3. Great shots!
    Thanks for sharing the story on beautiful Boomer.

  4. They are all wonderful to see Gary.
    Boomers story has been shared with my colleagues at work.

  5. Great photo's of the ducks, especially those in flight. They do have beautiful colours. The ducks on Pickering Beck are very friendly, always looking for a handout, unlike your wild ones.
    Sad story about Oscar, the thought of him just wandering away into the cold night to die is a heart-breaker.

  6. i'm partial to the ring-necks as i've seen a few here in winter. just lovely ducks!

    and i enjoyed reading about you and boomer in your previous post. loved how he was trained to walk you. you make a lucky pair!

  7. I love them all - beautiful photos!

  8. the Wood duck is still on my wishlist. Nice shots.

  9. Experience and knowledge are invaluable and your sleuthing skills appear to be in fine form to find and approach you subjects.

    Wonderful series of photos!

  10. Great finds Gary. I saw a Wood Duck here once and they are stunning birds.

  11. Wonderful heartfelt read Gary! While Boomer may be the pretty face in your partnership I think I prefer your writing and photography.
    A nature photographer must develop mad stalking skills to get by. There are no "pond duck" opportunities in the North Woods. Still, it makes great photographs like yours all the more impressive and definitely more authentic.
    Cheers to you Sir!

  12. I love your second and third last photos of the mallards, they are delightful.

  13. Great post and duck photos! Happy Birding!

  14. great story and you got some amazing photo's.

    i think they are most beautiful in flight!!

  15. Hi - great shots of the ducks - ours can be rather difficult to photograph as well, due to other people taking different types of shots I suppose!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Australia

  16. That's a great duck collection. The wood ducks really are beautiful.

  17. Great shots of the birds in flight!

  18. I had my first Bufflehead sighting last year. They're the teddy bear of ducks, I think, being as cute as they are:)

  19. Brilliant shots of ducks! I love your captures in flight!!

    I was going to post my ducks this week but the Sulphur-crested Cockatoo won! I shall do next week I think.
    LOVE your companion. I live in a VERY warm and extremely hot part of Australia where some people have Huskys... I always feel sorry for them as we have no snow and relatively mild winters.

  20. Great ducks shots. Hooray for you on your improved birding skills. I think you are on your way to becoming grizzly Adams! Love the bufflehead and the wood ducks. I hope you don't mind a bit of a correction, but the ducks you identified as blue-winged teals are actually female mallards. That blue speculum bordered by white on both edges is a dead giveaway. The blue-winged teal would have pale blue coverts with a green speculum on the male. The male also has a half moon white semi-circle between its bill and eye. The female is more dull, like a female mallard but she does not have the eye-line that a female mallard does. If you are like me, I believe you would want to know and learn. I hope that helps. You do have a marvelous collection of photos here. And thank you for your visit to my blog.

  21. Super photos of a great collection of duck sightings!
    Your story about Oscar was very touching.
    Hugs to you and Boomer.

  22. Great shots of the ducks Gary, especially the in-flight shots!

    I wrote a rely to your comment on the Canadian Boreal Wetlands including some links to some action that can be taken to stop the Tar Sands Oil pipeline. I hope to write another post with links and try to get folks to get involved with stopping this catastrophe before it goes too far.

  23. Hi Gary

    You have captured some lovely ducks in flight. I also enjoyed your comments. I have also found the more time I spend in an area and the more I can learn about the ecology the more I see and the more I enjoy everything around me.

    Hi to Boomer

    All the best.

  24. Great photos, Gary! I love the in-flight shots!