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Ducks on the Pond at Pea Island Refuge

By: slomo
2/26/2021 5:04 PM

during a recent visit we caught a rare sunny and dry day...took a drive down to Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge to see what types of waterfowl was around...despite the sunshine the weather wasn't exactly pleasant with temperatures in the upper 30s and a stiff north wind howling...I was very surprised how many folks braved the cold winds to take a look around

the most visible and numerous birds appeared to be the snow geese with whom a few white pelicans appeared to be mixing...my amateur video equipment was not capable of capturing these beautiful waterfowl...

however, as we were about to reach the observation tower I noticed the smaller ducks featured in the attached video...these guys must have been the model for the children's bathtub toys...

I no expert at identifying species, but think they may be Common Mergansers...anyone who can confirm?

youtu.be/LZ8yhu2L-nQ

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By: JimmyZ
2/26/2021 7:34 PM

The bouncing around on the waves made me crazy and I could not get a good enough look to see what they were. The last group were Buffleheads.



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By: JimmyZ
2/26/2021 7:38 PM

The next to the last group may be Gadwalls.



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By: slomo
2/27/2021 9:33 AM

The bouncing around on the waves made me crazy and I could not get a good enough look to see what they were. The last group were Buffleheads.

JimmyZ


thanks for the ID Jimmy Z...I hope you've recovered by now...

Ha! regarding the obnoxious bouncing, don't blame the ducks... the wind gusts were blowing me around and it was so cold I couldn't stop shivering long enough to steady the camera!

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By: OBX Skeeter
2/27/2021 3:40 PM

1st group are wigeons.

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By: EveT
3/1/2021 2:43 PM

Yes, American Wigeons in first group. The males are just coming into spring breeding plumage, with the bright green on the side of their heads. It is showing faintly now. See picture below from last week. Also, there is at least one male Bufflehead in your bufflehead group. Iridescent heads in the right light, very handsome! Photo of male below also.



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By: EveT
3/1/2021 2:47 PM

Here is a close up photo from a couple years back of the male Bufflehead.



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By: EveT
3/1/2021 2:54 PM

Common Mergansers also have white on their heads but not white sides on their bodies; their sides are brown (males).

A life quest has been to get males of both species in one camera frame! I see one family group of Common Mergansers mixing with the large raft of Buffleheads that overwinter up in Duck. The Mergansers typically are here only briefly, shortly after they arrive in late fall and again before they all leave in March. I have seen them for two or three years now, one family of Mergansers, and they don't stay all winter. But here is my life quest photo!



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