Duck… duck… duck… Coot!

Hooded merganser
Northern shoveler
American wigeon

I had signed up for a bird walk this morning at Sandy Hook, but it was cancelled yesterday due to poor weather. Bummer. In all the years I’ve been birding I’ve never had a trip be cancelled because of the weather. Are birders going soft or something? It was barely even raining today, so I visited a few of the coastal ponds in the area looking for ducks. I found quite a few of my favorites, and even got to take a few of my signature fuzzy photos. The Wigeon are the prettiest, I think, and there were nice numbers of them. Wigeon have a sweet call; the Cornell site compares it to a squeaky toy. Very different than the Long-tailed ducks I saw last weekend at Sandy Hook. Clicking on the links will bring you to Cornell’s page where you can listen to both songs.

Most everywhere on these little coastal ponds are gulls, Canada Geese, and Coot. They’re funny birds, actually in the rail family, and I photographed this one among a group of twenty or so feeding in the grass beside a pond like a flock of chickens. I saw the Wigeon doing the same thing, which was a first, although I’ve read that they’ll do that.

I stopped along the ocean on the way home, hoping to spot a loon, but the heavy fog and a lonely fisherman were all I found. Nice day, despite the rain.

19 thoughts on “Duck… duck… duck… Coot!”

  1. Laura, your day wasn’t a waste at all! I have never seen these ducks and I enjoy watching them so much. I’ll need to visit Lake Norman a little north from me and see what I can find. You did a great job today, despite the cancellation and a little rain. Thanks for the view! Sweet title line, by the way :o)

  2. Although I’m a bird lover now, my least favorite course as a bio major many years ago was ornithology. I hated those early morning bird walks & loved it when they were cancelled due to bad weather.

  3. Good for you! Fortunate you are, to live in an area where you can observe wildlife – even if it requires an extra layer of Thinsulite. Lovely photos – lovely birds.

  4. I did my bird trip today in Duluth. Morning temperature was MINUS 3 degrees! Did we cancel due to poor weather? NOOooooo! I’ll post about the trip tomorrow after I thaw out!

    When I was little I thought coots were swimming chickens!

  5. I love the title of your post! And the duck photos – I can’t wait to see ducks like this in my travels!! They’re around I just have to *find* them.
    Did the birders think it was going to be icy? They’re saying we’re in for an ice storm here – I sure hope not. I’ve got things to do!

  6. I was excited to see a pair of mallards instead of the inevitable Canada geese this weekend. Your pictures are great and give me something else to look for on the water.

  7. You are so lucky to live where you do. And Lynne and I will be lucky to come and see you and your wonderful area.
    (We are thinking Fall)
    I seriously think that coots are related to chickens. If chickens couls swim, they would be coots!
    Great pics, BTW.

  8. good bird pics. Thank you.In the original sory of Shingebiss. The duck is a merganser. The diving duck.
    The story is Ojibway.
    And now I know what areal widgean looks like. I have a decoy. But, it’s un-painted.

  9. What a great array of ducks. I hope when I get to Sandy Hook I will have the joy of seeing them too.


  10. Nice photos. I’m not a duck duck or coot kind of birder – guess I got my fill living in Florida and now I prefer the woodsy type. Isn’t that weird?

  11. Great photos. We have the Hooded Merganser here, but not the Wigeon. Such a pretty bird. We have coots, too. We’ve been seeing a lot of Buffleheads lately. The male is quite striking. I wish I could hear a loon everyday.

  12. Love the post title 🙂 And I enjoyed your walk and fine photos. Pretty mergansers and wigeons. My memories of coots and moorhens galore come from our weekend walks along the Thames during our English grad. school days. Most delightful in the spring when their little ones paddled behind them in the reeds. Thank you for these memories.

  13. Mary: You may not even need to travel to find pretty ducks; just look at what’s nearby.

    Susan: I hate getting up in the morning, but I’m usually happy to do it to see birds.

    Cathy: Thanks. All of these ducks were in ponds in the middle of residential areas along the shore.

    Lynne: Sounds cold! Coots do look like chickens in the water and guinea hens when they’re feeding in the grass.

    Naturewoman: Honest I don’t know why they cancelled the trip. It’s not cold. Maybe the fog.

    Ruth: It pays to look closely – from far away many of these look like mallards. Happy hunting!

    Susan: Do come! Are you planning it or what?

    Bunnygirl: What’s not to love?

    Silverlight: Aren’t the wigeon pretty? Sometimes there’s a Eurasian Wigeon around here, now that’s a gorgeous duck!

    Monarch: I’m surprised you didn’t get them on your survey.

    Jayne: Have to do something to amuse you all!

    Jackie: I hope so too, although Sandy Hook has more of the sea-loving ducks, rather than these *puddle ducks*.

    Madcap: What is that saying about wittiness making up for something?


    LauraO: Not at all weird. But there’s not a whole lot happening in the woods now, you know? At least not that I can get pics of. 😉 I like ducks because they’re big and slow-moving!

    Liza: In a silly sort of way they are!

    Robin: I love buffleheads, but haven’t been able to get a nice pic – they always dive away!

    Pam: Baby coots are something to see! I found a pic at the Cornell site – funny looking, but I’d love to see them the way you describe.

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