Friday, February 22, 2008
The Fourth Aythya
Jim McCormac has great pictures of three Aythya species right next to each other- the ring-necked duck, the greater scaup, and the lesser scaup. This past Martin Luther King Day, I had the fortune to photograph a fourth Aythya species, the redhead (Aythya americana), at Hoover Reservoir.
I really enjoy watching waterfowl during the fall, winter, and spring here in Ohio. It was not until I came to Columbus did I realize that waves of really cool looking ducks make their way through Ohio. I'll never forget the first time I spotted a group of Canvasbacks (the fifth Aythya) on the Cuyahoga River near my home town of Munroe Falls. I was used to the dabbling behavior of mallards, but the canvasbacks dive straight down into the cold water in search of food. They are quite brave.
If you look carefully and click on the picture above to reveal the full image, you will be able to separate the males from the females in this flock. The boys do have red heads, and also have blue bills. The girls are more drab, but interesting none the less. Another name for the redhead is "bluebill". These fascinating creatures are welcome guests here in Ohio. Be sure to check out a large pond or reservoir near you to see winter visitors. And before you head out, take a look at the Ohio Birds ListServ to see where waterfowl are rafting near you.
Have a great weekend!