13/14 November 2014
A Gadwall Anas strepera is surely one of the most under-rated little ducks, with its subtle shades of buff and brown, offset by the black flash of its rump.
It hardly stands out from the crowd when swimming among its more flashy cogeners, but it has a muted beauty all its own.
Red-necked Grebes Podiceps grisegena populate Lake Ontario in huge numbers in spring and fall; most migrate to warmer parts of the continent, but some hardy individuals always remain during the coldest months of the year.
One of the most common species during the winter months is Bufflehead Bucephala albeola. This tiny duck appears to have a black head with a large white patch from a distance, but upon close examination, the head colouration is an incredible blend of iridescence. It is often seen with flocks of Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula although none were present when I took these photographs.
Red-breasted Merganser Mergus serrator is a gregarious species and little groups of ten to twelve individuals swam together and dived almost simultaneously with a kind of military precision. They all bobbed back to the surface one after the other, where waiting gulls tried to steal their catch.
They spent a good deal of time preening and it was great fun to watch their various manoeuvres as they ensured that every feather received its proper level of attention.
As usual, Mallards Anas platyrynchos were ubiquitous and the males proved once again that they among the very handsomest of ducks.
One more episode still to come! À demain!