Sunday, November 27, 2016

Fletcher Lake 11/27--Muscovy Duck (Established Feral)

Muscovy Duck with young
I wouldn't have known about this population of Muscovy Ducks if Bob Auster hadn't told me about it last week. Muscovy Ducks (which seem to have nothing to do with Moscow) are a Central & South American bird that are often seen in parks, sometimes as hybrids, and in an array of plumages. Normally I wouldn't "count" these ducks but at this location in Ocean Grove they are a breeding population (see photo above) and while they are mostly white, that is good, because they don't appear to be hybridized (too much). Technically, on eBird this is a life bird, but I've seen them ever since I started noticing birds on Martha's Vineyard in the 70's where a small flock used to reside at the West Tisbury pond.

Today I thought it would be amusing if Shari and I drove up there to seek them out and then look for other waterfowl on the coastal lakes. After a quick stop at Shark River, where Brants and Buffleheads predominated, we found Fletcher Lake. Hiding beneath a bush was a white bird that Shari first took for a gull but then we saw that it was a big white duck. Others started to appear, including the family group that clinched the "breeding" rule for me.

I eventually counted 16 ducks, all very white with some just having a little black atop their heads. I'm sure if we had poked around some more we'd have found the 30 or so Bob had last week, but we weren't out for the record. As for Bob, he's happy not to be the last one listing these goofy ducks.
Kind of any ugly duck
We hit the other lakes south of there, finding the usual array of geese, ducks, gulls, and coots, with 3 Lesser Scaups being the highlight on Lake of the Lilies in Pt. Pleasant. I was kind of hoping to add Egyptian Goose at Spring Lake today to make it two oddball, quasi-legit waterfowl for the day, but they were not to be found.

For those with a literary bent, the duck above reminds me of T.S. Eliot's "young man carbuncular." 

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