Battle Ducks

Spring has sprung, although it’s still a bit schizo in Hutchinson County.  In the last week we’ve had 96 kph winds, snow, sleet, rain, hail, sunshine, and temps between -4° C and 25°C; a typical spring in the Texas Panhandle.  All the birds are in full breeding dress and the males are duking it out for territory and mates.

I was witness to one such battle in one of the smaller ponds at Spring Canyon.  These two Lesser Scaup drakes fought for several minutes until one swam off.





This Gadwall drake didn’t have any rivals and he and his partner seemed happy with each other.gadwall-15-1024x682

Here’s a group of Bufflehead drakes in a standoff.bufflehead-4-1024x684

This Northern Cardinal was singing enthusiastically.  There was a female nearby that seemed interested, but I couldn’t get a photo of her.northern-cardinal-58-1024x662

This Greater Roadrunner seemed content posing for me



until this one ran by,greater-roadrunner-149-1024x683

and then they both disappeared together into the brush.Greater Roadrunner (152) (1024x683)

Not everyone was lucky in love, though.  this Northern Pintail was all alone at Spring Canyon.  There had been hundreds of Northern Pintails on the main lake over the last month, but this was the only one I saw today.northern-pintail-18-1024x636

Here’s an American Tree Sparrowamerican-tree-sparrow-17-1024x683

and a Song Sparrow that were also alone

Loneliest of  all though was this Wood Duck. It’s not a great photo, but he was pretty far away.  This is the first Wood Duck I’ve seen since I began birding nearly two years ago, although eBird and Sibley don’t consider them rare for the area.wood-duck-1024x667

More photos in the galleries.

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