What is special about this bird? Well, for me it is my first opportunity to see a female Ruddy Duck, and for St. John's it marked a rare chance to see two Ruddy Ducks together. The only time that this has occurred in recent memory was in 2006 where two were located at Mundy Pond.
These two Ruddy Ducks showed up at Forest Pond in Goulds in late October and have stayed around for quite a while.
It is interesting in that Forest Pond is known to attract different birds. Most of them land and stay around an area where rocks protrude out of the water but these two little marsh-dwelling birds are staying at a different section of the pond and are staying fairly close to shore.
I have had an opportunity to see them on three different occasions but only one day provided lighting conditions where I could work with the pictures.
The Ruddy Duck is known to winter in waters around Massachusetts but from time to time they seem to get blown off course and end up here.
I recall a Ruddy Duck being located in Fourth Pond in Goulds in September 2010 hanging out with all things....a Surf Scoter! I went over but was unable to see that one.
So, I was quite pleased when a great little male Ruddy Duck flew into Quidi Vidi Lake last April and stayed around for quite a while. The sun was warming things up a little at that time and it was a good situation to sit and view that duck as it fed, slept and generally entertained the many on-lookers. Pictures of the male Ruddy Duck appear at the end of this post.
The Ruddy Duck is one of those birds where identification is quite easy. They are very small, have a stiff tail that is often visible when it is moving about the pond and it has a distinct bill. Even though the female plumage is very different from the male, it is still clearly a Ruddy Duck.
Now, all that remains is for me to see a pair of these birds together.
We have been experiencing consistently high winds for the last two weeks. With that kind of fast "air" we could see just about anything fall into our wintry island.
Winter indeed arrived in Newfoundland last night. There was at least 18 inches of snow in my driveway this morning and it is still falling. This really kicked up the Junco activity at my feeder today. I will have to dart out in the back yard and top up the feeders soon.