Apologies to my wildlife readers. It has been a while since I’ve had the chance to feature one of our feathered friends. It’s not that I haven’t been busy – in fact just the opposite. Decided it was time to bring you a little haunt for February – screw you mushy and smoochie Valentine’s Day, we scare aficionados are putting our zombie masks on and shuffling all over this shortened month. Thanks to many hours (and days) later the full Haunted Trail of Tears 2019 series was released. If you want to know how we do Halloween … wait.. how about Februween … then take a gander at the tour posts. Warning check your fears at the door ha!
Hoping that didn’t scare your feathers up. Maybe a therapy duck will help calm the nerves.
There now, breathe in, breath out while staring at the purdy duck. Immerse yourself in the warm comfort brought by the tranquil waters of the Texas Gulf Coast. By the way, let me know if that worked to calm your nerves – I’ll pick me up a bunch of Mottled Ducks and hit our local ICU and pay it forward for the great therapy dogs they let Linda enjoy while she was up at Mayo. If there is any chance of convincing a hospital director to let me bring a duck into their establishment, it better be clean. Of all the ducks I’ve come across I think the Mottled might have the best chance. I’ve never seen one of these specimens that didn’t look like it came straight from the salon.
Hit the jump to learn about my new business idea!
Every feather perfectly in place and polished regardless of what environment it was hanging out in. This specimen was found floating around at the South Padre Island Bird Viewing and Nature Center. This might have even been the same place I found them in my first post I made on the Mottled (link here). Personal note, definitely improved on my shots from the previous encounter.
I joked about it earlier, but in truth, the calm waters was the part that intrigued me. Here was a duck hanging out in the backwaters of the Gulf, definitely not the calmest of water bodies. There is usually some level of wind blowing into the boardwalks at the center. If that doesn’t cause some ripples, you can count on those damn American Coots or Common Gallinules to stir things up while they show off their ability to run on water. By the way American Birding Association, I NEVER have to look up how to spell Moorhen – just saying. Now imagine my surprise when a) the water was unnaturally calm and b) there swam a creature that wasn’t producing much more than a faint ripple. From a photographer’ perspective, that is a perfect recipe for mirror water.
Mirror water means my shutter gets a workout. Another great attribute of a therapy animal – calm under annoying clicking – telling ya’, I think I’m on to something here as this Mottled didn’t portray an ounce of concern. Ooops just noticed I only have one shot left. Should probably stop giving away my million dollar health care idea and get you some interesting facts before it’s too late. Hmmm, there might be an unexpected cost to my idea. These Mottleds spend their days along the Gulf Coast with a bit more coverage into the Florida inland. Guessing they prefer it warm so need to plan on adding operating costs to buy them all coats for winter hospital visits.
Guessing most of you are familiar with the very similarly colored Mallard. To help distinguish the two, simply focus on the bill. The Mottled sports a yellow tone where the Mallard has a color more aligned with Februween. Add to that the black spot at the nape (opening of bill) and you are probably good to go. For extra confirmation, the Mottle has more buff on the side of their heads and much richer brown with blacker edgings to their feathers. The latter characteristics admittedly being more relative markings and thus harder to discern without having both of them to reference.
Going to call it there folks. Just in case you are getting any ideas, I’m considering this post my copyright for Therapy Mottleds ha!