For this year’s winter series, I will focus on Dabbling Ducks - Genus Anas. I have had a number of good opportunities in the Spring and last Fall for photographing the most common of these ducks.
The dabblers are some of our most familiar ducks, and most familiar birds. They are denizens of inland marshes and ponds, which is why they are known at “puddle ducks.” They may also frequent parks, feed in fields, and winter in protected coastal waters. They feed by dabbling at the water’s surface or by bottoms-up, heads down.
The drakes are among the most handsome and dashing gentlemen in the avian world. The hens - not so much so. Basically, the hens all look alike, although a part of this series will be an exercise in learning to identify the hens - an exercise which I need to do for my benefit, and which will hopefully be of interest to patient readers.
I begin with three of the most handsome dabbling ducks. Well, the drakes are handsome anyway.
The Green-winged Teal is the smallest dabbling duck - about 14 inches in length. Duck watching with binoculars or a scope tends to distort our comparative size perception. I remember one time walking on a wetlands boardwalk and being almost on top of Green-winged Teals. I was struck by how small these birds are.
|Green-winged Teal - drake. (Florida, late February)|
|Green-winged Teal - drake & hen. (Florida, late February)|
|Northern Pintail - drake. (New Jersey, late October)|
|Northern Pintail - drake. (New Jersey, late March)|
|Northern Pintail - drake & hen. (New Jersey, late October)|
|American Widgeon - drake. Florida, late February|
|American Widgeon - drake & hen. New Jersey, late October|