Thursday, March 20, 2014

Crushing the Dog-ducks

 I've always thought male Long-tailed Ducks look like beagles if the heads are turned at the right angle...

Usually a person is lucky to have one male Long-tailed sort of close to the pier.
 This afternoon there were 10 or 15.

I took slightly over a thousand pics.

You don't realize how much of their appearance is based on the pink racing stripe on the bill until you see a young one whose bill is gray.

There were a number of different behaviors to observe:
They would frequently swim around with their necks extended giving their version of quacking and as much display as they do at least at this latitude.  It sounded like they were saying ow-ow-ow-ow-owlie.  They weren't really opening their bills to make the sounds
They don't stretch their wings as often as scaup but I did manage a so-so (over-exposed) series of one bird doing so.

Trying to get some pics that didn't blow out the whites completely was a big part of the 1000+ frames expended.

Preening can be interesting.

To get to their belly feathers they would do something I haven't seen other species do.  They would rear back orienting themselves vertically or even somewhat lying on their back and then flop their long neck down...

Other times they would do the more traditional lean-over-on-the-side method

Finally the wing-flip dive...

I especially like the upwelling of stinky rising up in its wake from the dive forward in the last pic.  By that measure they seemed to be feeding fairly successfully.  Fortunately no one sane will be swimming anytime soon...

No comments: