November 29, 2014 – Carrollton, Texas

I recently paid Josey Ranch Lake an abbreviated visit just to get a quick idea of how the winter waterfowl situation was shaping up. I can report happily that there were a lot of ducks on the water on this warm and sunny Saturday afternoon!

All the expected species were present, and there was at least one pleasant surprise. Lesser Scaups were easily the most numerous duck at the pond. Also on site were American Wigeons, Gadwalls, Buffleheads, Ruddy Ducks, Northern Shovelers, and a lone Ring-billed Duck.

Most of the pictures below were taken at a distance and are meant for documentary purposes only. I will be back later in the season when I can spend a little more time working on closeup shots.

When I return, I will be focusing my effort on my nemesis bird, the Bufflehead. These attractive and engaging little ducks seem to have some kind of six sense when it comes to knowing where I will be when I try to photograph them. They always manage to stay just a little too far away for me to capture good detailed pictures. If I move to one side of the lake, they move to the other—it doesn’t even seem to matter whether there are people on that side or not. Its uncanny, but I won’t give up. This will be the year I get a quality Bufflehead picture!

Ruddy Duck - Male
Ruddy Duck – Male
Lesser Scaup - Female
Lesser Scaup – Female
Lesser Scaup - Male Front, Female Back
Lesser Scaup – Male Front, Female Back
Northern Shoveler - Male
Northern Shoveler – Male
Northern Shoveler - Female
Northern Shoveler – Female
American Wigeon - Male
American Wigeon – Male
Bufflehead - Male Above, Female Below
Bufflehead – Male Above, Female Below
Ring-neck Duck - Male, Top Right
Ring-neck Duck – Male, Top Right

In addition to the ducks, there was plenty of other urban wildlife action at the park on this afternoon. Egrets, coots, and cormorants were present. Turtles could be seen going about their business in and around the pond, in spite of a recent cold spell. A Nutria or two climbed out of the water in hopes we might have some bread form them.

Perhaps the oddest thing I came across was the carcass of a headless Eastern Cottontail laying on the concrete dam just out of the water. I assume this little rabbit was the victim of some kind of predation, but it is hard to imagine why so much of the cottontail was left behind uneaten.

American Coot
American Coot
Pied-billed Grebe
Pied-billed Grebe
Blue Jay
Blue Jay
Eastern Cottontail Carcass
Eastern Cottontail Carcass
Eastern Cottontail
Eastern Cottontail
Red-eared Slider
Red-eared Slider
Great Egret
Great Egret
Great-tailed Grackle - Female
Great-tailed Grackle – Female
Great-tailed Grackle - Female
Great-tailed Grackle – Female
Ring-billed Gull - Juvenile
Ring-billed Gull – Juvenile

Finally, I made a point to check on the Mute Swan family that calls this lake home. The lone juvenile is now seven months old. He is very nearly entirely white now, and his bill is beginning to show hints of orange. This is the same Mute Swan family that I documented on a weekly basis this past summer. You can read their story beginning here: Mute Swan – Nest 2014

Mute Swans with Winter Ducks
Mute Swans with Winter Ducks
Mute Swans.  Left to right: female, male, and their seven month old juvenile.
Mute Swans. Left to right: female, male, and their seven month old juvenile.