Dec 112014
 

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.

  3 Responses to “Josey Ranch Lake – Winter Duck Preview”

  1. Great shots, Chris!

  2. Yes, great pictures! Even the kind of overlooked – or despised – birds like grackles are exquisite when one look closely at them, specially when in the sun. Is the coot missing a toe?

    • Thank you, Annika. The coot does look like he is missing a toe… I hadn’t noticed that before. There are a lot of Snapping Turtles in this pond!

      -CJ

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