First spring outing in the kayak: Who can identify these ducks??

Miraculously we hit 70 degrees on Sunday and out came the kayaks!

sylvia yule susan's kayak

cats watching the snowI live in central Massachusetts and not that long ago we were buried under over 4 feet of snow. Even though the front walkway, the deck and the back half of the driveway have been clear for a few weeks now, I still expect to walk out my door to huge snow mounds.

Finally, we are into the warm weather:  grass turning green, red buds on the maples, spring peepers singing at night and the robins greeting the dawn. And it’s actually becoming light at 5:45 am! My favorite season of the year.

The Blackstone and Quinsigamond rivers run through my hometown of  Grafton and water levels are high. Rich and I kayaked on Lake Ripple which has a dam and other smaller waterfalls:

The thrill of the day was this duck sighting:

These ducks were very accommodating; I was able to watch them for a long while. They even got out of the water and walked on a nearby lawn. Waddling around they looked comical, quite the contrast from their elegance in the water.

But I have yet to identify them! I am thinking the grey one with the tuft on the head is a female and either a Hooded or Common Merganser. I believe the second duck is a male Common Merganser as the head is actually dark green. There appears to be a yellow eye ring. No clue at all regarding the third duck who was totally black!

mystery ducks1 featured

If any of you out there know your ducks and can identify them, please leave a comment and let me know. Are they migrants passing through or native to central Massachusetts?

susan selfieThanks for your help! Whether or not I find out what they are, it was a wonderful day out on the water in early spring.

Addendum: Mystery solved. Someone from the The Great Backyard Bird Count Facebook group said they are domestic mallards. She wrote further, “The one with the puffy head is a crested mallard – that’s a genetic deformity that’s been bred into them. Note the different colors and patterns and long bodies, characteristics of domestic mallards. Hooded mergansers are short-bodied and compact, and all mergansers have very distinctive, saw-toothed bills.”

The snow does eventually melt away and things do get better!

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A break from the ice and snow: beautiful birds

Need a break from the sudden onslaught of winter? And that it’s just beginning?

Check out these beautiful birds
photographed by my brother-in-law Tim’s friend Matthew Faughnan:

640 cedar waxwing1

One of my favorite birds – they usually will come upon you in a swarm, grabbing berries off of bushes and trees. As smooth as silk!

640 sharp shinned hawk

This photo verifies my sighting of this bird in my backyard during the Fall migration of hawks. Stunning blue color!

640 Northern Shoveler

What a great bill! I wonder what this duck eats to necessitate such a bill?

640 Common Merganser

So peaceful.

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