If I am out with a TDSB nature walk group and we encounter a male Wood Duck I hear a lot of “Oh my goodness! Look at that !: or “That is so beautiful !”
Many North American Field guides have the male Wood Duck on the cover so it could be considered as our most beautiful bird.
However, after the breeding season when the young are out on their own, Wood Ducks, like many other bird species undergo a moult. Most of those gorgeous colours gradually disappear as the feathers are replaced and a slow transformation occurs. By winter they look their best once again. Poor penguins cannot go into the sea to feed while this occurs and look quite miserable.
From Humber Bay, here is how a group of Wood Ducks looked in August:
I will identify it at the end of the post.
The lack of ring on the bill indicates a Herring Gull.
Hello Miles, As usual,I enjoyed your post today of Col Sam Smith.
For the last couple of weeks the juvenile yellow crowned night heron has been making an appearance. He looks so much like the black crowned juvu.
Miles note: According to the Peterson Guide – very similar to young Black-crown, but darker, more finely speckled. Bill stouter, legs longer, yellowish.
In winter I get up at night
And dress by yellow candle-light.
In summer, quite the other way,
I have to go to bed by day. – Robert Louis Stevenson (1850–94)
Wow! Besides gorgeous pictures, there is also this fascinating information! I find the Wood Ducks still beautiful, but yes, I agree that the colours are not as intense, vibrant and striking. I am still confused at the sight of what I think of as “WINTER ducks”–which is to say, the Hooded Mergansers in this case, which seem to be sticking around. (I will have to look this up!) To the person who provided such fantastic pictures of the Yellow-crowned Night Heron–many thanks! I have never seen one or even heard of it!
Yes, I did realize that the mystery bird was a GULL–but not which VARIETY of gull (sigh). Oh well–better than nothing. And the molting Penguin (I know–not at this park!) And the Painted Turtle next to the Hooded Merganser! And…well, you get the idea. These pictures are great! Thanks, Miles (and Yellow-crowned Night Heron picture-taker)!