There are a number of reasons why I decided to take on this project. My first reason has to do with my interest in birds. This began shortly after moving to Victoria ten and a half years ago. With our house backing onto a wooded area, the chirping of birds is a familiar sound all year long. I often glance out the window to see birds of all forms in the yard throughout the day. Frequently I will pull out the Birds of Victoria or Birds of North America reference guides we have on hand. Unfortunately, the drawings in the first aren’t overly helpful for identification and the number of entries in the second is overwhelming. My second reason has to do with a photography course I took a number of years ago. Since that time I have been trying to think of a practical reason to buy a new camera. Taking pictures of birds requires a powerful zoom lens which my previous point-and-shoot camera could not accommodate. Perfect! My final reason was my desire to take on a new project to welcome in 2011. Hence, bird of the day was born.
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Medium-sized diving duck
White flanks, breast and belly
White patches on secondaries
Continuing with my quest to learn more about ducks, I braved the frigid wind at Esquimalt Lagoon this morning. The area, which is a migratory bird sanctuary, was chockablock with ducks, geese, swans, gulls and herons. Had the weather been more favorable, I would happily have spent the day there. As it was, I only managed about twenty minutes before retreating to the warmth of the car. A small number of these ducks were scattered here and there. When I first saw the immature male (below), I thought it was a female with a bit of white froth from the ocean at the base of its bill. I realized my error when I noticed that the white patch was on both sides of its face. Once I finally located a female, the bill was a dead give-away that my earlier assumption had been incorrect.