Ducks at Mayslake

by Carl Strang

This has been a good spring for migrant ducks at Mayslake Forest Preserve. Two new species have added themselves to the preserve’s bird list, a female goldeneye on May’s Lake a couple weeks ago, and a pair of gadwalls last week.

The male gadwall’s black hind end is unmistakable.

Note how the female gadwall’s head and bill shape match those of the male gadwall and contrast with the female mallard in the foreground.

More expected but no less enjoyable have been a few wood ducks on May’s Lake.

As in other ducks, the female wood duck’s plumage provides much better camouflage than does the male’s.

As of yesterday, the bufflehead pair I reported last week still was hanging out in the stream corridor marsh after 6 days.  I have tried to catch a glimpse of what they are eating, but no luck so far. Do they swallow while submerged?

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