Saturday, January 14, 2012

American Black Ducks, Stage Fort State Park, MA

American Black Ducks, Stage Fort State Park, Glauster, MA; 11/12/2011.
Our final birding stop for the day (11/12/11) in search of coastal sea birds in Massachusetts was Stage Fort Stae Park in Glauster. I was hoping to see a Great Cormorant, but all I found were Double-Crested Cormorants along with quite a variety of water birds in a very pretty setting. Some of the birds which I was able to identify were Great Black-backed Gulls, Ring-billed Gulls, Herring Gulls, Common Eiders, Red-breasted Merganser (Below), Common Loons, Buffleheads, Mallards, and Amarican Black Ducks (Above). I was happy to have identified American Black Ducks on sight without the aid of a Field Guide because I have been under the impression that they are so similar to Mallards, that I have probably have seen them before but mistakenly assumed they were mallards. But once I saw this small flock of 4-5 ducks, I knew immediately they were American Black Ducks. They are much darker than Mallards from below the neck to their tail, with a lighter neck and head. They will be darker at the crown and have a dark eyeline with  greenish/yellow bill. In the Midwest these ducks are not very common, but when they are visible they seem to be among a flock of the more numerous Mallards. But on the East Coast, American Black Ducks are more apt to travel in their own flocks.  Primarily a resident of the Eastern half of the country, Am. Black Ducks will reach as far north as Northern Quebec in the Summer and as far south as Georgia in the Winter. They will spend year round starting in a midsection from southern Wisconsin and Michigan, going east to the Atlantic coast and then stretching out from North Carolina to Maine.
Red-breasted Merganser, Stage Fort State Park, Glauster, MA; 11/12/2011.

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