Thursday 17 January 2013

Florida 18th November 2012

Ducks, ducks, ducks! I spent the whole day in St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge which is well known for its wildfowl and newly established wintering flock of Whooping Cranes. I was too early for the latter and also a little early for the large numbers of the former. Although the numbers were low I did see Gadwall, American Wigeon, Blue-winged Teal, Shoveler, Green-winged Teal, Redhead, Ring-necked Duck, Greater Scaup, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Hooded Merganser, Red-breasted Merganser and Ruddy Duck during the day. Earlier in the trip I had already seen Black-bellied Whistling Duck, Mottled Duck, Pintail and Surf Scoter at several other sites. I would also catch up with Wood Duck the next day. One of my main reasons for heading this far North was in hope of seeing a few Canvasbacks but even this apparent reliable site for them failed to produce any sightings which was a little disappointing. Great to see Lesser Scaup at such close quaters in the company of Greater Scaup.

Left to right Redhead, Lesser Scaup, LS, Greater Scaup & 2 LS.

Lesser Scaup

Spot the Greater Scaup?

Greater Scaup on the left of three Lessers

Greater Scaup and Bufflehead with Lesser Scaups.

Lessers with a Greater on the right.

First-winter (female?) Lesser Scaup
First-winter female and adult male Lesser Scaup.

Adult female Lesser Scaup

First-winter male Lesser Scaup, not as advanced as the bird below.

First-winter and adult male Lesser Scaup, note eye colour difference and different moult. Also note the green sheen to the adult compared to the purple sheen below, this changed depending on posture and angle to sun.

Adult male Lesser Scaup
Greater Scaup with Lesser behind showing diagnostic bill pattern.

Greater to the front left with Lesser Scaup.

First-winter male Greater Scaup

First-winter female Greater Scaups with adult male Lesser.
Male American Wigeon
Male and female American Wigeon

White-winged Dove

Red-bellied Woodpecker

American Goldfinches

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Eastern Towhee

White-crowned Sparrow

White-tailed Deer

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