Tag Archives: Pebble beach

Birds of Cape Ann: Divers or Dabblers and the Green-winged Teal

Female Green-winged Teal -- ©Kim Smith 2013.Female Green-winged Teal (Anas crecca) 

While filming at Henry’s Pond in Rockport I at first thought I was seeing a pair of pint-sized, or immature female Mallards amongst a mixed flock of full grown Mallards and American Black Ducks. But no, upon closer examination, their behavior was different from that of the much larger Mallards. They stayed together, the two females, foraging for food along the pond’s edge. When one flashed her brilliant emerald green wing, I realized it was no Mallard but the beautiful Green-winged Teal.

Female Green-winged Teal ©Kim Smith 2013Like the chubby little Bufflehead, the Green-winged Teal is similar in size, about 13-15 inches in length.

I find it interesting that, based on their style of foraging, ecologists assemble waterfowl into several groups.“Dabbler” ducks skim food from the surface, or feed in shallow water by tipping forward to submerge their heads (which is exactly what I had observed while filming the petite Green-winged Teal). “Diving” ducks propel themselves underwater with large feet. A few dabblers may dive, but for the most part, dabblers skim.

Dabblers that we see in our region include Green-winged Teal, Mallard, Mottled Duck, Blue-winged Teal, Gadwall, and Northern Shoveler. Diving ducks are the Canvasback, Redhead, Ring-necked Duck, Greater Scaup, Ruddy Duck, Masked Duck, and American Wigeon.

A third category, which includes Buffleheads are called “seaducks.” American Black Duck, Eiders, Scooters, Harlequin Duck, Oldsquaw, Goldeneyes, and Mergansers are encompassed in the seaduck group. Read more about Dabblers vs. Divers here.

Male Mallard, Female Mallard Green -Green-winged Teal ©Kim Smith 2013.

In the above photo of a male and female Mallard in the foreground, and Green-winged teal in the background, you can see how close in color are the feathers of the females of the two species. The wing pattern is subtly different and you can also see the difference in size between the two species.

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I have been organizing research and lots of photos for our Birds of Cape Ann series. Upcoming stories will feature songbirds, including Mourning Doves, American Robins, and Northern Cardinals, shorebirds of every size and shape including dabblers, divers, and seaducks, and I’ve planned a post just on bird food to grow in your gardens to attract our fine-feathered friends. As I often remind my readers, “When you plant, they will come!”

Green-Winged Teal, Birding Center, Port Aransas, TexasMale Green-winged Teal image courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Birds of Cape Ann: Buffleheads

So You’ve Lived Your Whole Life Til Now Not Knowing What A Dead Finback Whale’s Guts Look Like

hi joey,

thanks so much for your great blog. i always enjoy reading it.

i went for my morning walk today to see what happened after sandy hit last night. i smelled something foul and came across parts of the whale washed ashore  on the road which runs along pebble beach in rockport. i imagine parts may be showing up elsewhere as it is obviously now not a whole whale.

i thought other readers would be interested.

keep your eyes open!

i don’t know if this is the best way to share photos? please let me know if there is another way.

thanks, kim diebboll

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Big Assed Ducks?

Heads Up!! New Kids On The Block

In the pond across from Pebble Beach

What are these things? Geese? Swans? Big assed Ducks? Or what?