Welcome back everyone and since it is like an hour before midnight .. Happy Thanksgiving.; Now that I am thinking about it, it might have been more appropriate to feature a post on those that probably don’t see the “Happy” of that day… the Turkey, but I’ve already featured them back in September (link here). Instead, I’m going with Mr. and Mrs. Blotchy
While processing the pictures from our Texas birding trip back in November 2013, I came across these shots. At first I wrote them off as female Mallards … well, because just about all ducks with drab female coloring look like… female Mallards. It can be as painful as trying to identify juvenile Sparrows if you do not get lucky enough to capture a nearby male. While processing them in the digital darkroom I became quite intrigued. For some reason they just didn’t look like the standard Mallard or any other female brown duck that has made their way through the darkroom in the past. I guess for starters, they didn’t have the classic colored stripe on the wing. Then there was that small black splotch on the base of the bill.
That prompted a visit to the reference bookcase. Confirmed the wing stripe on the Mallard and sure enough no black splotch on the base of the bill ladies and gentlemen, this just might be a new check mark in the bird list! It just so happens my brother Ron had recently brought up the topic of the Mottled Duck. Unfortunately, the reason escapes me – he might have gotten one in the tin on his trip to Ft Myers (went back in my emails and couldn’t locate a reference – Ron, if you remember please let us know in the comments). Either way, I was super stoked to potentially have one of my own so sent them off to Ron for validation. He is a great reference whenever there are difficulties on the ID phase. His assessment was a confirmation giving me another +1 for my list and ANOTHER +1 from my Texas trip. That birding excursion is turning out to be a gold mine for new birds. Sorry about taking so long to get these processed.
Unfortunately, these were the only shots of these two Mottled Ducks in the lot. This means we need to get to the facts like right now hehehe. The Mottled is a dull relative of the Mallard which attributes to the similarities and my original incorrect ID assumption. There really isn’t much else of interest on the Cornell site beyond the fact they typically pair up in November which is earlier than most ducks. Seeing as how we were there in mid-November, these two must have been embarking on their honeymoon. Lastly, if you are curious, Mottled simply means having different blotches of color.
Well, that’s all folks – hope you enjoyed my new addition to my bird list. Now be safe on the roads if you are out and about on the big T-Day. I can’t afford to lose any loyal readers.