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Posts Tagged ‘Oxyura jamaicensis’

This male Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis) and I spotted each other at almost the same time and we both immediately sprung into action. As I was bringing my camera up to my eye, the duck was swimming away. I thought that I had lost the photo opportunity when suddenly the duck turned his head to the side and I was able to capture this image.

This Ruddy Duck, like the Hooded Merganser duck that I featured yesterday, has taken up residence in a small pond in a suburban neighborhood not far from where I live. I am thrilled, because it gives me a place where I can experience wildlife without having to travel too far. Things can get busy sometimes, especially at this time of the year, and I cannot always spend hours on end in the wild with my camera as I prefer to do.

Ruddy Duck

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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What does it mean to have your ducks in a row? For most of us, it means being well-prepared and organized in advance. Personally, I am a little scatter-brained and disorganized, so it is not a term that I would apply to myself very often.

As is the case with many such expressions, it is sometimes fun to apply them literally. Last week I spotted some Ruddy Ducks (Oxyura jamaicensis) in the waters off of Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. The wind was blowing pretty hard and the ducks seemed to be struggling to stay together. From my perspective, they seemed to be ducks in a row, though from their perspective, they probably felt like they were ducks in a column. It’s all a matter of perspective.

Most of the time that I see Ruddy Ducks, they are in groups like the one in the first photo, usually in the deeper waters. For more than a month, though, I have been seeing a solitary male Ruddy Duck in the more placid waters of a small pond at the wildlife refuge. I captured him in the second image below on the same day as the first shot. In both of the photos, you can see the stiff tail that is one of the distinguishing characteristics of this species.

I often wonder about the origins of expressions like “ducks in a row.” I assumed that it had to do with a mother duck and her ducklings, but decided to search the internet to see if that was the case. I came across a wonderful posting by The Word Detective that addresses speculation that the expression comes from the game of pool. It is a fun read, particularly the comments from readers suggesting that the expression is related to ship or aircraft construction or to duck hunting.

Ruddy Duck

Ruddy Duck

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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I spotted this little Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis) all by itself on Wednesday morning at the far end of Painted Turtle Pond at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. He must have been feeling a little lonely, however, and tried to strike up a conversation with the mallard decoy that is a permanent feature at this pond. The mallard remained silent.

I was trying to capture a shot of the Ruddy Duck by itself, as in the second image, but I like the eye contact in the first image so much that I decided to make it my lead photo for the posting. The shot simply makes me smile.

Have a wonderful Friday.

Ruddy Duck

Ruddy Duck

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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As I was scanning a group of Ring-necked Ducks and Canada Geese earlier this week, I noticed a pair of ducks that looked different, very different from the others. Their colors were unusual, but what really set them apart was their tails that stood almost straight up. I think that I encountered ones like this once before, but I couldn’t remember what species they were.

Fortunately I got some decent shots and was able to find them in my identification guide when I returned home—they turned out to be a pair of Ruddy Ducks (Oxyura jamaicensis). The light was bright and producing a lot of glare off of the water and ice and I didn’t managed to get any good shots of the female, but here are a few images of the male.

Ruddy Duck

Ruddy Duck

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

 

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The wind was kicking up yesterday on the Potomac River, making it difficult for the ducks there, like this Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis). I watched as the small ducks got drenched repeatedly as they sought to ride the waves.

At least it wasn’t raining and the temperatures have not yet dropped below the freezing levels, even at night.

ruddy_waves_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I haven’t seen many migrating ducks yet at my local marsh, so I traveled to the Potomac River this weekend, because I had heard from a birder that there were numerous ducks there. There were lots of Mallards, some Northern Shovelers (I think), and this cool-looking duck with a distinctive white patch on its cheek that I could not identify initially. After I returned home, it didn’t take long to figure out that this as a Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis), a species that I had never seen before.

ruddy_duck1_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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