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Posts Tagged ‘Anas clypeata’

Ducks do not seem to like to be alone. I will occasionally run across an odd solitary duck, but more often than not, the ducks that I encounter are in pairs or in larger groups. Sometimes the pairs are mixed-gender, like this Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus) couple that was relaxing together recently at Huntley Meadows Park. At other times, the pair may be of the same gender, like these two male Northern Shovelers (Anas clypeata) at the same park that were preening and grooming themselves early one morning—one Facebook viewer speculated that they were getting ready for dates.

Hooded Merganser

Northern Shoveler

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Even at a distance I could tell that the ducks that I spotted on Monday at Huntley Meadows Park were Northern Shovelers (Anas clypeata)—the shape of their bills is pretty distinctive. It’s duck season now and I can hardly wait for more species to arrive at the park.

Northern Shoveler

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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Does your appearance affect your attitude? Do you act differently when you are dressed formally than when dressed casually?

During the winter, I sometimes put on an utterly ridiculous looking bright red trapper hat with long floppy ears. No matter how I am feeling, I can’t help but smile when I am wearing the hat in public.

I wonder if a Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata) feels the same way about its oversize bill. No matter when I see one, it always seems to have a goofy grin on its face. Now I admit that bills are pretty inflexible and probably don’t allow for much variation in the shoveler’s facial expressions, but the grin is contagious. In the same way that people smile back at me when I have on a goofy grin on my face when my red hat is on my head, I always smile back at the Northern Shovelers.

Wear a goofy grin today and see how other people react!

Northern Shoveler

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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It’s hard to read the expression in a bird’s eyes, but this male Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata) at Huntley Meadows Park did not seem too thrilled that its large bill had gotten tangled in the weeds.

Northern Shoveler

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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The Northern Shovelers (Anas clypeata) at Huntley Meadows Park seemed shy and skittish today. This one male, however, turned his head for one last lingering look before swimming slowly away.

Northern Shoveler

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Some birds are so skittish that they fly away the very second that they detect my presence. Other birds are so tolerant or have gotten so used to humans that they will come right up to me or allow me to get pretty close to them. Northern Shovelers (Anas clypeata) are somewhere in the middle—generally they will turn their backs to me and swim away, but don’t fly away.

On a recent trip to my favorite marshland park, Huntley Meadows Park, I spotted a small group of Northern Shovelers. They were in constant motion as they foraged in the vegetation in the far reaches of one of the small ponds. It was a bit frustrating trying to get shots of them, because they spent most of the time swimming with their heads partially submerged.

I waited patiently and finally one of the handsome males briefly stopped swimming and gave me a half-smile and I was able to capture this image.

Northern Shoveler

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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We haven’t yet had snow, but Monday there were quite a few shovelers at Huntley Meadows Park. Northern Shovelers (Anas clypeata) are pretty easy to identify because of their cartoonishly elongated bills (and striking yellow eyes).

Northern Shoveler

Northern Shoveler

Northern Shoveler

Northern Shoveler

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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