Sunday, February 22, 2015

If it looks like a duck.....

The Divine Designer provides specific habitats with water, food, and shelter for wildlife. Animals, waterfowl, fish all have value to Him independent of their benefits to humanity.  It is intriguing to realize most events in nature take place beyond human awareness, enjoyed by and visible only to the Creator. 

Near our home, there is a lake which provides perfect habitat for ducks who visit us in the winter season.  There is nourishment, areas where they safely blend into the landscape for protection, room to come in for a landing and just hang out. We have enjoyed a good variety this year.  Many species of ducks are now pairing up for the mating season, getting ready to fly north to nesting areas.

Typical waterfowl habitat 
which is not only safe, but picturesque.

Elegant Canvasback Ducks

The Canvasback male has red-toned chestnut-colored head 
and female has pale, tan-colored head.

Peaceful winter setting for ducks.

This is one of my favorites, the diminutive Bufflehead, like a toy duck.  He is a diver and so quick he is difficult to photo.  Once the camera is focused on him, he's disappeared back under the water searching for food.

Male Bufflehead, with white "scarf" on round head, and female.

Two males trying to impress a female.  The male head coloration looks black, but it is actually iridescent green/purple.

From afar, the Gadwall is rather plain, 
but closeup he is striking in his own way.

Then there is the Mallard, the most familiar duck of the Northern Hemisphere.  The brilliant green on the male's head 
never fails to impress, especially when there are several together.

Paired off and ready for the mating season.

Often in small flocks, Ring-necked Ducks favor sheltered waters which is exactly what our little lake provides.

Most of us wonder why they are not called "ring-billed" because the brown neck ring is so hard to see.... 

The colorful Northern Shoveler swims around pushing it's spatula bill through the water to strain out food.

A mating pair of Northern Shovelers resting on the right, 
joined by Green-winged Teal.

Northern Shoveler, top and American Wigeon

Love is in the air, mating pair of American Wigeons.

Ruddy Duck, an odd little diving duck, common in many areas.  They have cute little stiff tails that are not always apparent.

Ruddy Ducks, somewhat sluggish, sit around on ponds, lakes and bays.  Ruddys have difficulty taking flight and fly with fast, buzzy wingbeats.

The ever beautiful Green-winged Teal with a mate.

I love the color reflection on the water 
of this male Green-winged Teal.  His coloration blends so well 
with his environment along the edges of the lake.

Soon our nearby lake will be surrounded by lush green
and the ducks will have all ventured north.