DGCA in Winter - Ducks

I had today off from work (Martin Luther King Day), so I took advantage of the day by making a trip to Dutch Gap Conservation Area (DGCA) to see what birds are wintering there. It was cloudy and looked like it could rain, but it stayed dry and relatively warm for January. It was also fairly windy.

The usual wintering birds include a good variety of ducks. I had my camera with me so I managed to get a few fuzzy pictures.

DGCA Ducks

The first picture has both Ring-necked Ducks (a male on the left and a female on the right) and American Coots (the three in the center). The water appears to be churning because they are continuously diving for food as I am taking pictures of them. The Coots are actually more closely related to Rails, but they act like Ducks.

DGCA Ducks

The second picture is of Northern Shovelers (with the big flat bills) and Gadwall (the gray bodied duck with a brownish cap on its head in the back left portion of the picture is a male, the brownish bird in the center back is the female). These ducks are "dabblers", meaning that they generally tip their head under water to feed, but usually do not dive under water to feed.

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