Overheard a pair of Northern Shovelers foraging for food:
I have not been posting here since last July, but have continued to photograph, although not as often as I used to. Hopefully, the following photos may help reduce stress for all of us during this coronavirus pandemic.
At this time of the year, I often see Northern Shovelers at the refuge. From afar they look like Mallard ducks, but with longer, oversized bills. They dabble back and forth with those bills to catch crustaceans and seeds from the marsh.
Flocks of Northern Shovelers are known to swim in circle to corral food and make it easier for them to catch. However, I saw this band early in the morning and many were still sleeping.
Last week, I thought I saw this pair of Northern Shovelers afloat on a pond at the Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge.
However, they were not floating. It was low tide and they were actually standing in the water.
The following Northern Shoveler was really floating.
This type of duck got its name from its long bill which is about 2.5 inches long. The male duck in these images, the one with bright colors, was in full breeding plumage.
The Northern Shoveler is a common wetland duck distinguished by its long bill which is wider and its tip than at its base. It uses it to forage for food, which can be plants or small crustaceans.
I found the following trio swimming around at the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge last weekend.
Here’s another look. As usual, the male has colorful plumage while the females are more subdued.