Time to test your powers of perception with a little blog quiz.
First Question: What is this post likely to be about?
Second Question: At what location were the images for this post taken?
Tick tick tick tick tick tick.. okay, pencils down. If you answered the first question with “a bird” you get 1 point. If your answer referenced a bird but included a profanity (as in another damn bird or probably stupid ass bird), then you have earned 5 points. Any answers that refer to quickly inflicting harm to author for subjecting them to another winged post results in a negative 2 points. If you failed to write your answer down because you lost your pencil while jumping in joy that there was a new post deserves 20 points for your sheer enthusiasm. Now on to question two. Answers referring to the Chain O’ Lakes State park will be met with a hardy +4, since you are obviously a loyal (and thus beloved) reader. References to the Circus Museum in Baraboo Wisconsin receive a negative 100 points for being a smartass but anything referring to the fact it doesn’t matter because corrupt politicians are trying to pull one over on the American people get a +12 for not being a sheeple.
… and the answer is – it is indeed a post about a bird and yes, another post from the Chain O’ Lakes State Park. I warned you it was going to be a feather laden month. Introducing the latest addition to the Birding Life List.
Oh, from a scoring perspective, any positive total is a win in my book! Any negative number should be met with scorn especially anything above a negative 50 (leave now Clown enthusiast!!). The bird or more descriptive, the duck you see here is a Gadwall. Once again, this ended up being a surprise in the digital darkroom. Ron and I were birding at the Chain, which translates to shooting absolutely anything with feathers.
Hit the jump to find out what this new duck is!
I had a hunch this might be a new bird while in the field but wasn’t sure. Because it was just sitting in the water and looked pretty plain for a duck. It did seem to sport more of an overall grey compared to the more common brown coloring. Per the shots here, you can tell I got a few in flight shots but the coloring on the wing patch didn’t stick out at the time – this is primarily due to the intense concentration it takes to keep the Beast on target and get the camera settings set at a sufficient level to get a decent image in the tin. Once in the darkroom I can spend a little more time on the details. The first image showed the distinctive brown, black and white patch that signify it as a Gadwall.
As mentioned, when these ducks are in the water they are as dull as they get. It also didn’t help that they were staying a long way out from where we were standing. The Beast was straining to cover the distance and still keep the image semi-crisp.
How about some interesting facts about our grey friend here. Apparently these robins of the hood like to steal from nearby dabbling ducks. Sneakily waiting for them to dive for food, put on the cloak of transparency, move within range and then STEAL whatever food their unsuspecting victim brings to the surface. What an ass. This alone doesn’t put them on the hated bird list along with the piece of crap Cowbirds and Bluejays, but it does drop them down on my favorites list. They spend their Winters in the lower Eastern 2/3rds of the US while migrating North into Canada as the Summer comes. These must have been preparing to head up there because it was mid Spring when we were up there. Wait a minute… wait a minute.. Cornell has provided additional clarification that these birds typically steal from American Coots. Okay, stealing from those pond chickens isn’t so bad – they get to come up a couple more notches now. Good news, the Gadwall populations has been increasing since 1966 (up 2.5%). On the not so good front they are third in the most hunted duck species category unless you are a half full kinda guy and consider them in a better position on that list than the Mallard and Green-Winged Teal). Cornell claims that slightly more than 1 in every 10 ducks shot by U.S. hunters is a Gadwall. That would not be shot in the metaphorical photography way. The fact that the population is increasing and still high on the list gives credit to our conservation initiatives.
Based on this new Coot information, the following shot takes on a whole new perspective
Obviously, those Gadwalls are just waiting for that Coot to dive so they can sail in and club it to death as soon as it returns to the surface. Pretty sure I heard an evil clown laugh at about that time!
Later friends – see you again real soon.