Just a reminder that this weekend is the Minnesota deer opener. All my Minnesota friends birding in the woods--don't forget your blaze orange!
Okay, the duck blog posts are about finished...for awhile. I'm winding up work this week and next week I'm off to the magical birding land that is South Texas. If you've never been to the Rio Grande Valley, find a way to go. The Rio Grande Valley Bird Festival is one of my favorite bird festivals in the country--I love it so much that next week I'm on vacation and I'm going to the festival--not working a booth, not giving a workshop, not leading trips--just hanging with my friends.
Meanwhile, ducks are on in Minnesota. I got a call from Avian Images asking if I would like to meet up after work for the long-tailed duck on Lake Vadnais. Some girl talk and ducks--perfect end to a work day.
Here is the long-tailed duck mixed in with a pack of goldenye. I was not prepared for how close or how cool this duck looked. When I've seen the long-tailed duck show up in Minnesota before, it wasn't such a snazzy specimen as seen here or here.
This was an adult male in winter plumage, which I think looks better than his breeding plumage. There were still a ton of ring-necked ducks on Vadnais, but it was easy to figure out where the long-tailed was being observed--you just followed the pack of birders with large lenses and scopes.
One of the gentlemen with what looked like a 600mm lens asked us what the light colored duck was. I was surprised that A. no one else in the group told him and B. someone with a huge lens like that was taking photos of birds and didn't know the species. He said he had a guide and couldn't find it. I told him that it was a long-tailed duck and depending on the age and type of guide, it may be listed by the politically incorrect name of oldsquaw. Personally, I always call it Long Duck Dong (bong) in my head. But that maybe because I was raised on too many 80's movies.