I was patiently waiting, with my finger on the shutter button, for a Red Shouldered Hawk to fly. I had been watching a pair of hawks for about 20 minutes when right in front of me in the water this Anhinga surfaced with this huge fish impaled on it’s lower beak! You never know what is going to appear in front of your lens.
The Mallard is one of the most recognizable and familiar ducks in the world. Mallards can live almost anywhere there is shallow water. This Mama Mallard has eight downy babies to keep up with. They nest on dry ground, sometimes up to a mile from the water. The Female Mallard leads her young to the water about 12 hours after they hatch. That’s a lot of babies and responsibility for Mama Mallard!
The American Avocet is described in most bird references as elegant. They are so unique with their upturned long bill. The tip of their bill is very sensitive to touch and enables them to find food in mud flats as they swing their bill from side to side. The American Avocet during non breeding season is black and white with a grayish colored head. During breeding season the head turns a beautiful rusty color with a black and white body. This pair of breeding adults seems to be flying in perfect rhythm as they make their way across a shallow pond in Delaware.
The Northern Pintail is an elegant long tailed dabbling duck. They are very unique in North America with their long slender body and long pointed tail. The Pintail has a long neck and is very fast and agile in flight, nicknamed the “Greyhound of the air”. The Northern Pintail male and female are very different with the female a very plain brown. The male has a bright white breast, chocolate brown head and gray body with a very long tail. They are Dabbling ducks, which means that they feed mostly on the surface of the water instead of diving underwater for food. They “up end” to use their long necks to reach aquatic plants underwater with their tails in the air. They maintain this dabbling position with their head down by paddling their feet in the water. I sure am glad I don’t have to eat in that position with my head under water and tail in the air!
This Reddish Egret is in full breeding colors and is standing in the water with it’s shaggy, rusty colored neck feathers ruffled. This large heron is uncommon and seen in the United States only in coastal tidal flats in southern states. I photographed this one in Florida. This beautiful bird nearly became extinct by plume hunters for its beautiful feathers in the late 1800’s.