Thursday, November 2, 2017
All week long my Audubon bird alerts told me of more migrating ducks. I'd not heard of Surf Scoters or Oldsquaws, but they'd been seen at Hull Park beginning last Saturday morning.
I'd been traveling earlier in the week so today was my first chance to check out Hull Park. I went over in the afternoon, and saw lots of ducks bobbing in the choppy waters of Boardman Lake.
Most of the ducks there were beautiful Redheads. These diving ducks have gray backs and sides, and a reddish brown head and neck. They are medium-sized diving ducks.
I'm most familiar with ducks, like this mallard, which live in wetlands and feed on insects and crustaceans at the bottom of ponds. They don't dive for their food; they just tip their bottoms up, and submerge only their heads and necks as they forage.
Diving ducks also feed on aquatic plants and insects, but they dive down into the water to get their food. It happens very fast. All of a sudden, the Redhead leans its body in a way that signals the dive is coming.
Then it thrusts its head and neck down in the water and the rest of its body quickly follows. Two or three seconds is all it takes.
The Redhead leaves bubbles in its wake. It's only submerged a few seconds, but was great fun to watch. I had my finger on the camera shutter button ready to capture the whole dive sequence, but the Redhead was way faster than I was.
Not really disappointed that I'd not seen any of the rare ducks at Hull, I left to go over to my normal watching point at the Logan's Landing. There were lots of Buffleheads, another migrating diving duck. Then I saw another Redhead...or at least I think that's what it was. The extra spikey "do" made me wonder if it was something else. Maybe its hair had just dried out a funny way after all its diving. Sorta like bedhead.