Scares and Calms

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.

Mottled Duck found at South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center December 2016

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.

Mottled Duck found at South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center December 2016

Hit the jump to learn about my new business idea!

Continue reading Scares and Calms

Score One for the Blotches

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

Mottled Duck shot in Galveston Texas, Nov 2013

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.
Mottled Duck shot in Galveston Texas, Nov 2013

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.

Mottled Duck shot in Galveston Texas, Nov 2013
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.