Well, they’re really yesterday’s mystery ducks, but it just seems that the more time I have the less I get done – so I’m a day or two late in posting this – but I really did have trouble figuring out what this raft of ducks were. 😉
They were on the ocean side – off what I’ve dubbed West Beach – at some distance, and in a wicked little chop, so even the telephoto pictures make precise identification difficult – at least for this amateur. So I wavered quite a while between one of the scaup clan and Common Goldeneye and came down, at last, on the side of Common Goldeneye. Zooming in on the above picture I get a little more detail. (Ah – Paul C. confirms om his comment – Common Goldeneyes!)
But what really clinched it for me was this guy coming in for a landing near the flock. The white wing patches say “Goldeneye” with some sureness – but not absolute.
My prowl this day started out easier in terms of identifying ducks. We had had a significant storm and excessively high tide a couple days ago. But except for a few stones thrown up at the entrance of the causeway, there was no evidence of it. What is more common now, duck-wise, are little groups of Buffleheads. I love these guys – for their looks and their funny name. They make me smile. This pair were part of a larger group of half a dozen on the Bay side.
In the choppier water on the ocean side of the causeway were this trio of White-winged Scoters – with a handsome dude in the lead.
Walking the central trail, Gooseberry felt more and more like a barren wilderness now that approaching winter has stripped the leaves away. Amidst the tangle of barrren brush, though, there is a familiar face – a yellow-rumped warbler, I believe. (See the little dab of yellow on his sides? Click the image for a larger view.)
Back near the parling lot, I’ll go out on a limb and say this is a pair of Greater Scaup on the ocean side. The key to the ID of scaups is black at both ends for the male , and white in the middle – and while this isn’t that evident in the photo, in other photos of him alone it seemed more obvious. ( Ooops – wrong limb. Paul C. comments: “Female Common Goldeneye (the knobby headed one to the right gives it away)” – knobby headed? OK, there’s a lesson there, I’m sure.
Ooops – where did this come from? A lone stalk of Queen Anne’s Lace that doesn’t seem to know its December!
But there remain bright spots. About a week agao as the four of us were walking on nearby Horseneck we spotted a flock of Snow Buntings “working” one of the parking lots. Incredible birds. Hope to get some pictures one of these days. And today on Gooseberry wasn’t bad. Let’s see – I did see an Eider or two, a Common Loon, the Buffleheads, Goldeneyes, Greater Scaup, and White-winged Scoters – not a bad mix for a casual walk. I’ll close with these cuties, seen on the way out.