Puffy-headed Gadwall at Ashbridges Bay: October 29, 2021

I learn something every day. This morning we had a group of Gadwall who appeared to be having a great time with lots of whistling noises and dashing about.


Male Gadwall are grayish with a black rear end.

Gadwall (male)
Gadwall (male)

You can see in the photos that these males have a “puffy” head.

A glance at Sibley Birds informed me that adult breeding males have this puffy look from September until May. That was news to me.

Gadwall (male)

Other birds:

Red-breasted Nuthatch
hybrid “Bib” duck
Long-tailed Duck (male)
Ring-billed Gulls
Mute Swans
Ring-billed Gulls
Long-tailed Ducks
Great Blue Heron
Mallard (male)
Great Blue Heron
White-throated Sparrow

Park scenes:

Cottonwood (Populus deltoides)

Today’s group:

Some botany:

Russian-olive (Elaeagnus umbellata)
Hawthorn (Crataegus)
Spindletree (Euonymus europaea) also called Burning Bush
Silverweed (Potentilla anserina)
Black Maple (Acer nigrum)
Kentucky Coffee Tree (Gymnocladus dioicus)
Kentucky Coffee Tree (Gymnocladus dioicus)
Panicled Aster (Symphyotrichum lanceolatum)
Red-osier (Cornus sericea)


Press’d by the Moon, mute arbitress of tides, 
While the loud equinox its pow’r combines, 
The sea no more its swelling surge confines, 
But o’er the shrinking land sublimely rides.          – Charlotte Smith (1749–1806)

Miles Hearn

2 thoughts on “Puffy-headed Gadwall at Ashbridges Bay: October 29, 2021

  1. Susan R.

    Miles – must thank you for yet another marvelous set of photos and the wonderful ‘puffy-headed Gadwall” story – all news to me and now we can pick him out cause so very distinctive. I am learning so much from your photos Miles as I never see what you do as not so good with the binocs. I will really try to get into another class of yours – it was fantastic last year but I did not get onto it early enough this year and find the TDSB sight difficult. Keep up the teaching – it is wonderful for all of us who are lucky enough to be on your blog!!


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