Redhead

Redhead ducks have been present at the Fox River in downtown Waukesha, WI for the last couple of weeks.  Today, 8 of them were present. With 10-degree temps in the morning, thin ice had formed overnight on the river. The ice kept the ducks near the open water area by the dam where the river is more narrow which gave nice views. As ice disappeared as the sun moved higher they moved out into the wider part of the river. Other duck species present today, Common Goldeneye Ducks (m-f), Red-breasted Mergansers (m-f), Lesser and Greater Scaups (m-f ), Bufflehead and American Coots. The wind made for a very cold day. Photographs taken on March 26th, 2014.

Redhead – Male

Redhead

Binomial name: Aythya americana

Category: Duck, Geese, and Swans

Size: 19” long, 29” wing span

Weight: 2.3 lb.

Habitat:  Lakes and ponds, in a general breeding range from the Mississippi River west and from northern Texas north into central Canada.

Diet: Dive for aquatic plants and parts such as seeds, leaves, algae, stems, tubers and roots. Some of these plants are water lilies, grasses, wild rice, wild celery and pondweeds.  Their diet also includes aquatic insects, mollusks and small-sized fish.

Nesting:  Redhead ducks usually find a new mate each year in late winter for the following spring. In midsummer a nest is constructed of new and old vegetation and lined with down. Nests are located in dense marshes, prairie potholes, and woodland free areas where water levels are at least 28” deep as they dive for their food.  Redheads on occasion use nests that other ducks have constructed. The female lays on the average of 7-12 eggs.

Cool Facts: After the breeding season the adult male heads to big open waters, goes through a molt period, and is almost flightless for a month.

Redhead – Male

Redhead – Male – Female

Redhead – Female

Redhead – Male

Redhead preening – Male

Redhead preening – Male

Redhead – Male – Female

Redhead – Female

Redhead – Female – Male

Redhead – Male

Redhead – Female – Male

Redhead – Male – Fowler Lake Waukesha Co, April 4, 2013

Ring-necked Duck

A Ring-necked Duck showed up at the Fox River in downtown Waukesha, WI today. It hung around with other species present that were Common Goldeneye Ducks (m-f), Red-breasted (m-f) and ~20 Common Mergansers (m-f), Redheads (m-f) Scaups (m-f ). A pair of Buffleheads were reported, but I could not locate them. There was no female Ring-necked Duck to be found. The pair of Mute Swan were still present and still getting big views by pedestrians, walkers and bikers on the river walk. The wind made for a very cold day. Photographs taken on March 20th, 2014.

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Ring-necked Duck

Binomial name: Aythya collaris

Category: Ducks, Geese, and Swans

Size: 17” long, 25” wing span

Weight: 1.5 lb.

Habitat:  Shallow freshwater or acidic wetlands such as fens, bogs, marshes, beaver ponds and swamps. They will use saltwater areas in the southern states.

Diet: The Ring-necked Duck gets its food diving shallow or near the surface.  Eats plants such as wild rice, wild celery, sedges, reed canary grass, arrowhead, water lilies, pondweed. The main diet for adult females when feeding duckings is earth worms, leeches, midges, clams and caddis flies which is also what the duckings are feed.

Nesting:  The nest is simply built by the female just before egg-laying time. Materials are grasses and stems taken from nearby the nest area, usually 2”-10” directly above the water to help protect from land predators. The size is 2”-4” deep and 9”-10” across with a ramp made to the water. The female lines the nest with her down feathers. Usually one egg per day is laid with a clutch size of 6-14 eggs.

Facts: Although called a Ring-necked Duck, it appears to have a ringed bill. The ring on the neck, how it gets its name is chestnut-colored and hard to see unless you are close up. Some Minnesota lakes are gathering places for hundreds of thousands of these ducks during fall migration to feed on wild rice.

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Ring-necked Duck - M, Common Goldeneye - M in front

Ring-necked Duck – M, Common Goldeneye – M in front

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Ring-necked Duck - M, Common Goldeneye - M in back

Ring-necked Duck – M, 3rd from right, Common Goldeneye – FM far left, 2 others Common Goldeneys – M

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Hooded Merganser

A pair of Hooded Mergansers were present on the Fox River in downtown Waukesha WI. today. The female has been around for a couple of days but a male arrived this afternoon. The pair hung together swimming, catching prey and preening. Other species present were Common Goldeneye Ducks (m-f), Red-breasted (m-f) ~30 Common Mergansers (m-f), Redheads (m-f) with many Mallards (m-f). Scaups were also present but I never checked to see if they were G or L as I was focused on the Hooded Mergansers. The river was wide open today with milder temps and the duck were more spread out. The Mute Swans in the area were still the highlight at the river walk to pedestrians, bikers and walkers. Photographs were taken on March 18, 2014.

Hooded Merganser - M (crest up)

Hooded Merganser – M (crest mostly up)

Hooded Merganser

Binomial name: Lophodytes cucullatus

Category: Duck, Geese, and Swans

Size: 18” long, 24” wing span

Weight: 1.4 lb.

Habitat:  This secretive duck prefers wooded freshwater wetlands where mature, cavity-bearing trees exist for nesting. They will also use open wetlands where next boxes have been put installed.

Diet: Small fish, crustaceans (especially crayfish), amphibians, and sometimes vegetation.

Nesting:  They select out of the way places, and the nest is usually well hidden on wooded ponds, lakes and rivers. In most cases it is hard to locate even by experienced birders and researchers. Nest is a shallow bowl usually made of existing materials in the cavity and then slowly adding her belly down after she starts laying 7-13 eggs. Nest cavities are usually 10-50 off the ground.

Cool facts: Hooded Mergansers have eyes that adapt to water clarity, if the water is murky or clear, they can still see their prey.  Considered to be one of the handsomest ducks in North America.

Hooded Merganser - F

Hooded Merganser – F

Hooded Merganser - M (crest down)

Hooded Merganser – M (crest down)

Hooded Merganser - M (crest down) - F

Hooded Merganser – M (crest down) – F

Hooded Merganser - M (crest down) - F

Hooded Merganser – M (crest down) – F

Hooded Merganser - M (crest down) - F, Both preening

Hooded Merganser – M (crest down) – F, Both preening

Hooded Merganser - M (crest down) - F

Hooded Merganser – M (crest down) – F

Hooded Merganser - M (crest down) - F

Hooded Merganser – M (crest down) – F

Hooded Merganser - M (crest up)

Hooded Merganser – M (crest mostly up)

Hooded Merganser - M (crest down) - F

Hooded Merganser – M (crest down) – F

Mute Swan

Mute Swans on the Fox River in downtown Waukesha Wisconsin. A pair of Mute Swans have stopped in for a visit here on the river with some open water as temperatures have eased in recent days. Most places in the area are still froze over. Their stay so far has been about 5 days. The Mute Swans have put on great shows for bikers, pedestrians and photographers along the river walk with their beauty. Photographs were taken on March 17, 2014.

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Mute Swan

Binomial name: Cygnus olor

Category: Duck, Geese, and Swans

Size: 50”-60” long, 84”-94” wing span

Weight: 12.0 -31.0 lbs.

Habitat:  Prefer shallow lakes and ponds, estuaries, sometimes bogs and wetlands.

Diet: Aquatic plants and animals.

Nesting:  The nest is an open bowl found in a large mound of aquatic rushes, vegetation and grasses, usually lined with down or soft vegetation. This nest is normally found in a secluded area on an island, lake or river bank, or reed bed. Swans will lay 6-11 white to pale green eggs at a rate of 1 egg per day.  They will hatch about 35 days from when the last egg is laid.

Facts: A native to central and northern Eurasia the species was introduced into North American in the late 1800’s. It was brought into ponds of parks and estates for ornamental purposes. Their aggressive behavior threatens native waterfowl. They can consume 4-8 lbs. of plants a day and uproot native plants that are usually a food source and habitat for native birds and other native species. Management practices are continually being put in place for the control of this Swan species.

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American Black Duck

An American Black Duck on the Fox River in Waukesha WI. Photographs were taken on March 16, 2014.  Other species present were Common Goldeneye Ducks (m-f), Red-breasted and ~30 Common Mergansers (m-f),  with many Mallards (f-m). A large portion of the river froze up with the cold temps over night, but enough was open to hold most of the duck from yesterday. The Mute Swans in the area were still leading the show with their presence. Lots of sun in the afternoon, but the wind made it feel extremely cold.

American Black Duck

American Black Duck

American Black Duck

Binomial name: Anas rubripes

Category: Duck, Geese, and Swans

Size: 23” long, 35” wing span

Weight: 2.6 lbs.

Habitat:  Breeding habitat for this species are in freshwater wetlands, salt marshes, acid bogs, lakes, stream margins, and sometimes margins in estuaries in the eastern US.

Diet: Mostly plant matter but will also eat insects, crustaceans, mollusks and larvae of dragonflies, caddisflies, beetles. Fish can also be a part of their diet.

Nesting:  The female selects a well concealed site and builds a basin shape nest 7-8” across about 1.5” deep. It is usually located on or near the ground usually close to water. The nest is lined with feather down and plant material.  Crotches of trees, hollows or large tree cavities can also be a nesting site. The female incubates 8-12 eggs and usually does not leave the nest until the eggs hatch. Once hatched, the chicks can immediately swim and find food by themselves.

Cool facts: Previous known as the “dusky” duck as it is actually dark and not black. The American Black Duck is similar to the Mallard Duck in profile but smaller in size.

 American Black Duck

American Black Duck

American Black Duck being chased by a Drake Mallard Duck

American Black Duck being chased by a male Mallard Duck

American Black Duck being chased by a Drake Mallard Duck

American Black Duck being chased by a male Mallard Duck

American Black Duck being chased by a Drake Mallard Duck

American Black Duck being chased by a male Mallard Duck

American Black Duck stretching

American Black Duck stretching

American Black Duck stretching

American Black Duck stretching

American Black Duck preening

American Black Duck preening

American Black Duck preening

American Black Duck preening

American Black Duck preening

American Black Duck preening

American Black Duck preening

American Black Duck preening

American Black Duck preening

American Black Duck preening

American Black Duck shaking

American Black Duck shaking

American Black Duck preening

American Black Duck preening

American Black Duck

American Black Duck

Northern Shoveler

Northern Shovelers on the Fox River in Waukesha Wisconsin. Other species present were Common Goldeneye Ducks (m-f), Redhead Ducks (m-f), Red-breasted and Common Mergansers (m-f), American Coots, first of the year for me and many Mallards. Surprisingly, I did not see any female American Shovelers, just males. Two Mute Swans present took the show to all the people walking and bikers out today along the river walk.  There is little ice left on the river with temps in the low 50′s today. The ducks look gorgeous this time of year! Images were taken on Friday March 14, 2014.

Northern Shoveler - Male

Northern Shoveler stretching  – Male

Northern Shoveler

Binomial name: Anas clypeata

Category: Duck, Geese, and Swans

Size: 19” long, 30” wing span

Weight: 1.4 lbs.

Habitat:  Breeding habitat for this species is open shallow wetlands, marshes, prairie potholes or wet grasslands.

Diet:  Swimming invertebrates, also seeds from sedges, bulrushes, grasses and other plants. that are sifted through a filtering system made of projections that line their mouth edges.

Nesting:  Nest is cup size, lined with down, on the ground and usually concealed in short grass near water. The nest usually has of 8-12 eggs pale-greenish gray or pale buff.

Cool facts:  The Northern Shovelers large bill sifts food through a filtering system made of projections that line their mouth edges.

Northern Shoveler - Male

Northern Shoveler stretching  – Male

Northern Shoveler - Male

Northern Shoveler – Male

 

Northern Shoveler - Male

Northern Shoveler – Male

Northern Shoveler - Male

Northern Shoveler preening – Male

Northern Shoveler - Male

Northern Shoveler preening – Male

Northern Shoveler - Male

Northern Shoveler – Male

Northern Shovelers - Male

Northern Shovelers – Male

Northern Shovelers - male with a Mallard - male

Northern Shovelers – Male with a Mallard – Male

Red-breasted Merganser - female

Red-breasted Merganser – Female

Red-breasted Merganser - Female

Red-breasted Merganser – Female

Redhead Ducks, stretching Male (r), FM (l)

Redhead Ducks, stretching Male (r), Female (l)

Ring-billed Gull

Ring-billed Gull

Ring-billed Gull

Ring-billed Gull

Ring-billed Gull

Ring-billed Gull

Ring-billed Gull

Ring-billed Gull

Northern Shoveler - Male - Horicon Marsh, November, 2011

Northern Shoveler – Male – Horicon Marsh, November, 2011

Northern Shoveler - Female - Horicon Marsh, November, 2011

Northern Shoveler – Female – Horicon Marsh, November, 2011

Northern Shoveler - Male - Horicon Marsh, November, 2011

Northern Shoveler – Male – Horicon Marsh, November, 2011

Northern Shoveler - Female - Horicon Marsh, November, 2011

Northern Shoveler – Female – Horicon Marsh, November, 2011

Northern Shoveler - Male - Horicon Marsh, November, 2011

Northern Shoveler – Male – Horicon Marsh, November, 2011

Red-breasted Merganser

Red-breasted Mergansers on the Fox River in Waukesha and at the mouth of the Milwaukee River on the Milwaukee Lakefront. Other species present were Greater Scaups and the Common Goldeneyes. The ice was starting to break up well and move around inside the breakwall with temps in the low 50’s, warmest it has been since approximately November 1st 2013. The ducks look gorgeous this time of year! Images were taken on March 10, 2014.

Red-breasted Merganser - Male

Red-breasted Merganser – Male

Red-breasted Merganser

Binomial name: Mergus serrator

Category: Duck, Geese, and Swans

Size: 23” long, 30” wing span

Weight: M 1.56 lbs., F 1.52 lbs.

Habitat:  Lakes and ponds surrounded by woodlands also tundra ponds.

Diet: The Red-breasted Merganser dives for its main diet fish, but also eats, insects, crustaceans and tadpoles.

Nesting:  Nesting sites are depressions in the ground. They can be located under a large rock, within dense shrub, under a pile of driftwood near water. Nests usually contain 5-11 olive colored eggs, they leave the nest in 1 or 2 days.

Cool facts: The breeding region for the Red-breasted Merganser is farther north than any other American merganser.

Red-breasted Merganser - Male

Red-breasted Merganser – Male

Red-breasted Merganser Stretching - Male

Red-breasted Merganser stretching – Male

Red-breasted Merganser Stretching - Male

Red-breasted Merganser stretching – Male

Red-breasted Merganser Shaking Off - Male

Red-breasted Merganser shaking off – Male

Red-breasted Merganser Preening - Male

Red-breasted Merganser preening – Male

Red-breasted Merganser Preening - Male

Red-breasted Merganser preening – Male

Red-breasted Merganser - Male

Red-breasted Merganser – Male

Red-breasted Merganser Preening - Male

Red-breasted Merganser preening – Male

Red-breasted Merganser Preening - Male

Red-breasted Merganser preening – Male

Red-breasted Merganser a pair! - Males

Red-breasted Merganser a pair, relax mode – Males

Red-breasted Merganser stretching in water - Male

Red-breasted Merganser stretching in water – Male

Red-breasted Merganser - female

Red-breasted Merganser – Female

Red-breasted Merganser - Female

Red-breasted Merganser – Female

Lesser Scaup - Male

Greater Scaup – Male

Lesser Scaup - Male

Greater Scaup – Male

Lesser Scaup - Female

Greater Scaup – Female

Lesser Scaup - Female

Greater Scaup – Female

Lesser Scaup stretching - Male

Greater Scaup stretching – Male

Common Goldeneye - Male, 1st winter

Common Goldeneye – Male, 1st winter

Common Goldeneye - Male, 1st winter

Common Goldeneye – Male, 1st winter

Greater Scaup

The mouth of the Milwaukee River on the Milwaukee Lakefront was pretty iced up along with the harbor. The little water that was open held a few Greater Scaups with nice views. They did some diving for mussels while I was there. Some of the other species present that day were 3 Red-throated Loons, White-winged Scoters, Common Goldeneyes and Red-breasted Mergansers. Mostly a sun day but very cold. Photographs taken on February 23, 2014.

Greater Scaup - Male - Milwaukee River Mouth / Lake Michigan Lakefront, February 2, 2014

Greater Scaup – Male – Milwaukee River Mouth / Lake Michigan Lakefront

Greater Scaup

Binomial name: Aythya marila

Category: Duck, Geese, and Swans

Size: 18” long, 28” wing span

Weight: 2.3 lb.

Habitat:  Typically found along the seacoasts on large lakes, ponds and sometimes bays. Breeding in the summer months in Alaska, northern Canada, Siberia and far northern areas of Europe on the tundra and in the boreal forest regions. This ducks spends its winter months mainly along Pacific, Gulf, and Atlantic coasts, and also in Eurasia.

Diet: Dive for aquatic plants and parts such as seeds, leaves, stems, tubers and roots. Some of these plants are muskgrass, wild celery, pondweeds and sedges. Their diet also includes aquatic insects, clams, snails, mussels, and other crustaceans.

Nesting:  A nest is nothing more than a bowl shaped scrape in the ground typically lined with down and grasses. It is placed in taller grass areas not prone to flooding. An average of 9 olive-brown or pale greenish colored eggs are laid, and the female uses distracting displays to keep away artic foxes, ravens, red-tailed hawks, raccoons, owls and various gull species. Young leave the nest after incubation of 24-28 days as soon as they are dry after hatching. At that time female takes them to food immediately as they can swim and they feed themselves.

Cool Facts: Similar to the Lesser Scaup, accurate counts of this bird are not possible and both species are counted and then numbers adjusted.  Dives for its food, but eats it on the surface. To identify the Greater from the Lesser Scaups, sometimes field guides are needed as they are so similar. The black nail on the end of the bill is one of the easiest tips for ID of the Lesser as it is very narrow. On the Greater the black nail on the tip of the bill is wider. Recently a friend of mine observed a Snowy Owl capturing, killing and eating a Scaup species on Lake Michigan.

Greater Scaup - Female - Milwaukee River Mouth / Lake Michigan Lakefront

Greater Scaup – Female – Milwaukee River Mouth / Lake Michigan Lakefront

Greater Scaup - Male  -  Milwaukee River Mouth / Lake Michigan Lakefront

Greater Scaup – Male – Milwaukee River Mouth / Lake Michigan Lakefront

Greater Scaup - Female walking on ice - Milwaukee River Mouth / Lake Michigan Lakefront

Greater Scaup – Female walking on ice – Milwaukee River Mouth / Lake Michigan Lakefront

Greater Scaup - Female walking on ice - Milwaukee River Mouth / Lake Michigan Lakefront

Greater Scaup – Female walking on ice – Milwaukee River Mouth / Lake Michigan Lakefront

Greater Scaup - Female  -  Milwaukee River Mouth / Lake Michigan Lakefront

Greater Scaup – Female – Milwaukee River Mouth / Lake Michigan Lakefront

Greater Scaup - Male  -  Milwaukee River Mouth / Lake Michigan Lakefront

Greater Scaup – Male – Milwaukee River Mouth / Lake Michigan Lakefront

Common Goldeneye

Common Goldeneye Ducks on the Fox River, Waukesha Wisconsin. Photographs were taken on March 5, 2014

Common Goldeneye - Male

Common Goldeneye – Male

Common Goldeneye

Binomial name: Buecephala clangula

Category: Duck, Geese, and Swans

Size: 16–20” long, 30.3–32.7” wing span

Weight: M 2.3 lbs., F 1.7 lbs.

Habitat:  Lakes, ponds and rivers near forest lands.

Diet: The Common Goldeneye dives underwater for aquatic invertebrates and insects, vegetation and small fish.

Nesting:  Nesting sites are large cavities in trees, they will also use nest boxes. Nesting sites are usually near lakes, rivers or ponds, but can be located up to one mile from water. The nest is lined with feathers from the female. 5-16 eggs in the nest cavity, young leave within two days after hatching.

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Common Goldeneye – Male

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Common Goldeneye – Female

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Common Goldeneye – Male

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Common Goldeneye – Male

Common Goldeneye - Male, 1st winter

Common Goldeneye – Male, 1st winter

 

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Common Goldeneye – Female

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Common Goldeneye – Male

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Common Goldeneye – Male

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Common Goldeneye – Male

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Common Goldeneye – Male

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Common Goldeneye – Male

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Common Goldeneye – Male

Red-throated Loons Milwaukee River Mouth, Milwaukee Lakefront, February 23, 2014

The area of the mouth of the Milwaukee River on the Milwaukee Lakefront produced 3 Red-throated Loons. Some of the other species present and photographed were White-winged Scoters, Common Goldeneyes, Red-breasted Mergansers, and Greater Scaups.

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Red-throated Loon

Red-throated Loon

Binomial name: Gavia stellata

Category: Loons

Description: Dark gray feathers with a white throat and underparts, small black and white strips on the back of its neck.  In breeding season, the throat turns red, thus the name.  Small bill which fluctuates between black and dark gray.

Size: 21” – 27” long, 36” – 47” wingspan

Weight: 2.2 lbs. – 6.0 lbs.

Habitat: Large lakes, coastal shorelines, inland rivers, and reservoirs.

Diet: Primarily fish, occasionally crustaceans, frogs, and aquatic invertebrates, rarely plants

Nesting: Both parents build the nest out of a mudscrape lined with plant material and some feathers.  The male will stand guard while the female incubates the eggs (2 eggs per clutch).  Both parents feed and raise the young and participate in distraction displays to lure predators away from the nest.  Mating pairs will breed for life.

Notes: Unlike other loon species which must take flight by running on the surface of water, the Red-throated Loon can fly directly from land or water.  It also does not carry its young on its back.

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Red-throated Loon

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Red-throated Loon

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Red-throated Loon

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Red-throated Loon

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Red-throated Loon

White-winged Scoter

White-winged Scoter

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Female Common Goldeneye

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Male Common Goldeneye

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Male Red-breasted Merganser

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Female Red-breasted Merganser

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Male Greater Scaup

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Male Greater Scaup

Whooper Swan

Whooper Swan photographed at the Otsego Marsh in Columbia County, Wisconsin on October 27, 2013.  At this time it is unknown if this bird is a wild bird or an escapee bird.

Whooper Swan

Whooper Swan

Binomial name: Cygnus cygnus

Category: Ducks, Geese, and Swans

Description: White body with a black and yellow bill, more yellow than black.  Black legs and feet.

Size: 55” – 65” long, 81” – 108” wingspan

Weight: 16 lbs. – 31 lbs.

Habitat: Freshwater lakes, shorelines, slow rivers, wetlands, marshes, swamps, and bogs

Natural Range: Breeds in Northern Eurasia and winters primarily in the United Kingdom and Southern Asia.  It is extremely rare to see one in the United States.

Diet: Aquatic plants, leaves, stems, roots, grasses, and sedges.  In winter will also eat grains, acorns, and vegetables such as turnips or potatoes.

Nesting: Both parents build the nest out of grasses, leaves, and other plants pressed into a mud flat or reed beds.  The male will stand guard while the female incubates the eggs (4 -7 eggs per clutch).  Mating pairs will breed for life, and the same nest may be used repeatedly over several years with repairs being made as necessary.  Sometimes offspring from previous years will rejoin their parents.

Notes: Although large in size, this bird has comparatively small legs.  Consequently, it spends most of its time swimming and scouring bodies of water for food instead of walking on land.  It is also the national bird of Finland.  The yellow markings on each swan’s bill are unique and can identify a particular bird in much the same way humans may be identified by fingerprints.

Whooper Swan

Whooper Swan

Whooper Swan

Whooper Swan

Whooper Swan

Whooper Swan

Whooper Swan

Whooper Swan

Whooper Swan

Whooper Swan

To see the gallery of images, please click here.

Horicon Marsh and Hustisford August 20, 2013

Photographs taken at Horicon Marsh and Hustisford on August 20, 2013.

Marsh Wren

Marsh Wren

Least Sandpiper

Least Sandpiper

Blue-winged Teal Family

Blue-winged Teal Family

Stilt Sandpipers

Stilt Sandpipers

Lesser Yellowlegs, Hustisford

Lesser Yellowlegs, Hustisford

Pectoral Sandpiper, Hustisford

Pectoral Sandpiper, Hustisford

Least Sandpipers, Hustisford

Least Sandpipers, Hustisford

Least Sandpiper, Hustisford

Least Sandpiper, Hustisford

Yellow Headed Blackbird

Yellow-headed Blackbird

Pectoral Sandpipers, Hustisford

Pectoral Sandpipers, Hustisford

To view the full gallery of images, please click here.

Wood Ducks in Waukesha County on September 19, 2012

I came across a small pond in northwest Waukesha County that had about a dozen Wood Ducks, male and female. Images were taken on September 19, 2012.

Wood Ducks, male right, female left

Wood Ducks, female right, male left

Wood Duck

Binomial name: Aix sponsa

Category: Ducks, Geese, and Swans

Size: 18.5” long, 30” wing span

Weight: 1.3 lb

Wood Duck, male, just relaxing!

Wood Duck, male, just relaxing!

Wood Duck, male

Wood Duck, male

Wood Duck, male

Wood Duck, male

Wood Ducks, male right, female left

Wood Ducks, male right, female left

Wood Ducks, female

Wood Ducks, female

Wood Ducks, male right front, female left back

Wood Ducks, male right front, female left back

Wood Duck, female preening

Wood Duck, female preening

Wood Duck, male

Wood Duck, male

Wood Ducks, male left, female right

Wood Ducks, male left, female right

Wood Duck, female

Wood Duck, female

Barrow’s Goldeneye at North Point in Sheboygan Wisconsin on January 7, 2011

Barrow’s Goldeneye, male, at North Point in Sheboygan Wisconsin on January 7, 2011. This duck remained far from shore during it’s short visit in Sheboygan. A very rare visitor to the state of Wisconsin. Only distant images could be taken. Some images show both male Barrow’s Goldeneye and Common Goldeneye together.

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Barrow’s Goldeneye

Binomial name: Bucephala islanddica

Category: Duck, Geese, and Swans

Size: 18” long, 28” wing span

Weight: 2.1 lb.

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Barrow’s Goldeneye, male left – Common Goldeneye, male center – Common Goldeneye, female left

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Barrow’s Goldeneye, male far right – Common Goldeneye, male center left with Common Goldeneye females

Harlequin Duck

Harlequin Duck, nonbreeding male photographed at North Point in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on January 5, 2012.

Harlequin Duck

Binomial name: Histrionicus histrionicus

Category: Ducks, Geese, and Swans

Description: Slate blue (male) or grayish brown (female) body with white spots or streaks on head, back, and wings.  Male also has rust-colored patches on sides.

Size: 13″ – 21.3″ long, 22″ – 26″wingspan

Weight: 17.6 oz. – 25.6 oz.

Habitat: Rocky shores and coastlines in mountains or forests.

Diet: Small insects, spiders, fish, and crustaceans.

Nesting: The female provides all parental care, building a nest in a protected space on the ground, often near water.  The female will lay 3 – 9 eggs at a time, laying eggs once per summer.   Although the male does not help rear the young, the pair will likely mate for life.

Notes: Harlequin ducks are extremely buoyant due to their tightly packed feathers.  These feathers also insulate them from chilly water while they swim and dive.

Cinnamon Teal at the Vernon Marsh in Waukesha County Wisconsin on May 2, 2012

(FYI, An old bird sighting I added to my blog since a Cinnamon Teal has been in the birding news) On a birding run this morning I was rewarded with a Cinnamon Teal, male. It was on the southwest corner of the figure 8 ponds on the western side of the marsh. A very rare bird for the state as the normal range for this bird are western states. The bird moved in and out of cattails sometimes following Blue-winged Teals and was not seen often. I was fortunate enough to get some distant shots. A birder had reported this bird earlier. Images were taken May 5, 2012.

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Cinnamon Teal, male following Blue-winged Teals, male front, female in the middle

Cinnamon Teal

Binomial name: Anas cyanoptera

Category: Ducks, Geese, and Swans

Size: 16” long, 22” wing span

Weight: 14 oz

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Cinnamon Teal, male following Blue-winged Teal, female

Cinnamon Teal, male

Cinnamon Teal, male

Cinnamon Teal, male following Blue-winged

Cinnamon Teal, male following Blue-winged Teal, male