Gone to the Ducks

Birders regularly recall the trigger bird that stopped them in their tracks and awakened their curiosity about the avifauna. While I can’t name one particular trigger species, I owe my fascination for feathered friends to the manifold ducks that migrate to Alaska during the summer. When my husband and I called this northernmost state home in the early 2000s, my interest was aroused whenever we chanced upon colorful waterfowl on the myriad bodies of water that pepper the state. I went so far as to invest in a guide book to Alaskan birds, and even owned a CD with recordings of regional birdsong, but being rather consumed by professional life then, I birded only incidentally.

Ducks, geese and assorted additional water-associated avians are rewarding for beginning birders because their size makes them visible on the water’s surface, and they commonly stay in one place for extended periods, facilitating their proper identification. Now that we no longer live in “The Last Frontier” with its legendary biodiversity, I regret not having dedicated more time to ornithological pursuits there.

My fondness of ducks, nonetheless, abides. It so happens that within walking distance of our current residence in Colorado Springs, two lakes provide habitat for assorted waterfowl.

Quail Lake with view of Pikes Peak

Doubletree Pond with view of Cheyenne Mountain

 I did not acquire a digital camera until we were in the process of closing our Alaska chapter, and consequently don’t own electronic photos of the beautiful winged creatures encountered there. Instead, I would like to share pictures of some of the visitors of these urban oases in Colorado Springs who, likewise, have stolen my heart. Unlike other birds, they stay (or arrive) here in winter and help brighten the darker days.

Mallards are our most common ducks…

…and Canada Geese our most common geese

Northern Shovelers have spatulas for bills

Hooded Mergansers are spectacular in…

…and out of the water

Common Goldeneye, I wonder why

American Wigeon, aka “bald pate”

Doubletree Pond in winter

This, of course, does not qualify as waterfowl, but when I saw this white dove at the Doubletree Pond on January 1, it embodied all my hopes: Peace on Earth for this new year.

Klicken Sie bitte hier für die deutsche Version/click here for the German version:


20 thoughts on “Gone to the Ducks

  1. Was für Schönheiten ! Tolle Fotos, auch gerade die mit den Kanadagänsen und deren Spiegelungen im Wasser. Und eine ganz schöne Entenvielfalt. So viele verschiedene sehe ich hier im Raum Hannover nicht. Das Goldeneye ist ja auch hübsch. Liebe Grüße, Almuth

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a wonderful array of bird life.

    You’ve definitely got more water birds on your nearby ponds than mine, although if I walk further along my nearby river to the next wetlands they are readily seen.

    Both Quail Lake and Doubletree pond look like great walking destinations for observing bird life.

    Even though we don’t have them here in Australia (of course), I love Canada Geese. I seem to see them in so many films through my adult life, they are beginning to seem like old friends.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for reading and for commenting, Vicki.
      I never grow tired of waterfowl, they seem so content, even if they are doing the same activities over and over. I find it soothing to watch them dabble or dive, quack or gabble. And when a flock of Canada Geese takes off or arrives, it is a lovely pandemonium. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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