Thursday, September 22, 2011
Long-tailed Duck - Summer 2011
It was a really nice surprise to come upon this pair of Long-tailed Ducks of the shore of Bear Cove Beach.
It is interesting that all three times that I have seen this sea duck, it has been in this same area.
There was no sign of the long tail on either of these ducks. The male in the guide shows with a long tail in both winter and breeding plumage. So why is it missing here? It may be possible that it is submerged. Really, the guide is only a starting point for learning about birds. Each bird has its own story that is surely not included in field guides. This require more reading. For me, I am still in such an early stage of learning that it is a sign of progress just to be able to note differences and ask questions. I'm sure time will drive me into deeper reading when I have already developed a basic knowledge base.
This seems to be the female that shows no distinct eye patch. and more white on the neck. The color of the bill is also darker than the male.
It is interesting to watch how sea ducks quickly take note of people nearby and begin to slowly but steadily drift farther from shore. They typically don't take flight but just ride the wave off into the distance. I have also noticed this to be the case with grebes and loons as well. If hoping to get pictures of these birds or get extended looks, it is wise to keep a low profile while watching.