Common Goldeneye and Greater and Lesser Scaup Ducks at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin December 7, 2014

Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin has been giving nice views of Greater and Lesser Scaups and Common Goldeneyes. Numbers are not high there in the park but a few to enjoy. The open water on the big lake has 1,000’s of these species right now along with and some Bufflehead, Common and Red-breasted Mergansers. The Snowy Owl over at the Lake Express Ferry was near its hangout, the culvert pipe coming out of the ground. It was inside it this morning, later in the morning it appeared to be outside of it next to it. It seemed like there were many spectators there waiting for close up views when I checked a few times this morning. Images were taken on December 7, 2014.

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Greater Scaup, female adult

Common Goldeneye, female

Common Goldeneye, male 1st winter

Common Goldeneye, male

Common Goldeneye, male 1st winter

Common Goldeneye, male

Common Goldeneye, male adult

Greater Scaup, female

Lesser Scaup, female adult

Greater Scaup, male

Greater Scaup, male adult, on the beach.

Greater Scaup, female

Greater Scaup, female adult, on the beach.

Greater Scaup, female left - male right

Greater Scaup adults, female left – male right, on the beach.

Greater Scaup, females watching a piece of ice go by!

Greater Scaup, females watching a piece of ice go by!

Common Goldeneye, male, looking at you!

Common Goldeneye, male adult, looking at you!

Greater Scaup, female

Greater Scaup, female adult

Common Goldeneye, male adult

Common Goldeneye, male adult

Common Goldeneye, adult female

Common Goldeneye, female adult

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