Nearby to where I live there is a creek catering to wild ducks and other creatures. Summer or winter there are various groups of wild ducks, mostly mallards, though there have been some unusually coloured ones: various shades of black and white, and brown and white with or without white breasts and white underneath.
[1 –Male Pintail - brown or black body with long black tail feathers]
The only species I could find in my bird book were the Northern Pintail, whom fly south for the winter.
[2 –Female Pintail - has a slightly shorter tail and grayish bill]
There was a late group of young ducks hatched in the summer and I wonder how they are faring the winter. Perhaps they will return this spring so I can get a photo or two of them. There was one in particular that caught my attention whenever I crossed the bridge to do errands.
[3 -Mallard on ice - click to enlarge]
The mallards are braver to withstand the cold and have lingered so far, sometimes the only indication of their being present are the webbed shaped footprints left in the snow on the creek. It was strange to see them paddling in melted water atop ice waiting for the next donation of bread crumbs or slices.
[4 -Mallard drake and hen - click to enlarge]
Source: A Field Guide to the Birds of North America (2006) by Michael Vanner, p.54-55.
Photo Credits: -Brendan Btally CC=flickr, -Alan_Vernon CC=flickr, -Grant MacDonald CC=nc-flickr, -wolfpix CC=nd-flickr.
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