The Northern Shoveler - the large shovel-like beak accounts for its name, but this huge spatula is really used to strain food from the muddy pond soup. One winter in Arizona I watched a flock of 20+ shovelers swimming in a compact circle with their beaks barely submerged as they stirred up the waters and strained out food. At a distance, the green head sometimes leads to a hasty “Mallard” ID, but the bill is black (yellow on the Mallard). The rusty red side on the drake is a give away field mark. The late October drake has not completed his molt, so the side appears a bit ragged.
|Northern Shoveler - drake. (New Jersey - late October)|
|Norther Shoveler - dabbling drake with hen. (New Jersey - early November)|
|Blue-winged Teal - drake. (Florida - late February)|
|Blue-winged Teal - drake & hen. (Florida, late February)|
|Gadwall - drake. (Massachusetts coast, mid-January)|
|Gadwall - drake. (New Jersey - early November)|
|Gadwall - drake & hen. (New Jersey - early November)|
Note: Last year in December, I did a series of quizzes on LBJs or Little Brown Jobs (Quiz 1 link).