ducks

They’re back

They’re back

I’m guilty of sentimentality when it comes to wildlife—a syndrome Russell Baker has amusingly described.  In the case of the domestic ducks that hang out at North Pond, my enthusiasm is pragmatic: I appreciate how photogenic they are, how well they stand out against the surrounding scene.  It helps that they are just a single pair, returning to the spot perennially.

They look lovely against the blue-black surface of the pond, or when its surface is glowing with the reflected colors of autumn.  The pair also look pretty darn cute against the fresh carpet of spring.

Perhaps a Black Duck

Perhaps a Black Duck

Toward the end of my walk the other day, I noticed a duck I didn’t recognize.  It was about the size of a Mallard, perhaps a little bulkier, with a mottled beak and a white patch under its chin.  It was solitary and silent and sat on the same snag at the edge of the pond for some time, grooming itself and enjoying the rain.  Fortunately I had my bigger camera with me, so I was able to stand back and zoom in.

bird book

When I got home, I looked at my favorite bird encyclopedia and consulted the Cornell Bird Lab website, which suggested that I had probably seen an American black duck, or a hybrid black/Mallard, which is common.  Whatever it was, I really liked its dark, complex coloration and the patches of dark teal on its wings and tail.

As always, I found it very satisfying to take pictures of this bird.  Waterfowl are the easiest to take pictures of, because they don’t move too fast and are easy to see.

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