Friday, March 29, 2013

Winter Waterfowl

These guys will hopefully be leaving soon so I'll start here with March's back log of local pics.

There have been a few more Long-tailed Ducks than the last couple years hanging out along the piers.  They have a bewildering array of plumages and moults.
I got mostly confused trying to age and sex these looking at the Sibley plates and was reduced to pulling out Pyle.  It says something that Pyle is more technical than any medical text that I own.  Pyle (as best as I can tell from the figure, the text is just waaay too dense) uses the shape and color of the longest scapular as a good place to start with aging and sexing this species.  On the lead bird, these are dark, relatively pointed, and edged with rufous making it an adult female in breeding plumage.  On the trail bird the longest scap is fairly (but less) pointed, brown with a buffy pale concave margin, making it adult female in winter plumage.  I think.
One of the omnipresent WW scoters is in the foreground.

I'm not sure if this next one is rattier because it's in the process of moulting or if it's a first spring bird.
No problems with the winter male.  For whatever reason they don't tend to come in as close though.

Finally a mess of (mostly) Redhead.  It feels like there's been a lot more of them this year, but that may just be my memory.

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