Friday, November 15, 2013

It's Your Basic Duck, but. . .

[American Black Duck at Forsythe NWR, NJ on Thursday. Click to enlarge photos.]

We in NJ tend to take American Black Ducks for granted - they're here year round, and more than our share of the world population winters in NJ. And they're your basic duck, not especially colorful, a kind of big, plain dabbling duck.  I always figured black ducks could use a could PR campaign, and maybe a name change - how about "Flame-legged Duck?" Or at least "Salt Marsh Duck." As you can tell, I'm fond of the birds.

Anyhow, speaking as someone who works at the NWR (Forsythe) with the most black ducks of anyplace, probably, I can tell you they can be hard to photograph well unless you have a really long lens, which I don't, because they are shy birds that usually flush on approach by person or even auto on an auto tour route, or at least they're all swimming away from you as you approach. Thus I am especially proud of these two only slightly cropped images of the basic duck.

[This preening bird shows a trace of the purple-blue speculum, that by not being edged with white shows this bird to be a likely purebred American Black Duck, untainted by Mallard blood.]

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