Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Favorite Birds

As you know, I love looking for birds, and I have a lot of favorites; I have favorite birds in different categories, and from different birding places.  It may be easier to say which birds are my least favorite, but that doesn't sound like much fun.  Some of my favorite birds are listing for your enjoyment: diurnal bird of prey = kite, flycatcher = phoebe, favorite owl = burrowing owl, yard bird = chickadee, sparrow = field sparrow, and favorite shore bird = plovers of any kind.  Even with this long list, I have missed many other favorites.  I am actually happy to see just about any bird and find endearing characteristics in them all.

Wake up, you Canvasback, I want a picture!
Mueller Park, where I frequently walk the dogs, has two sets of ponds that are winter homes for a few of my favorite ducks, including Canvasback Ducks.  The male canvasback is beautiful with a dark cherry head and neck, a bright canvas white back, and black breast.  Canvasback are long billed, and long bodied, athletic and yet graceful.  Canvasback are usually seen in bays and inlets along the seashore so the fact that a family unit has taken up winter residence in Austin, Texas is a bit strange.  Their irregular choice of home makes seeing them all the more special.  Mueller is also winter home for Ring-necked ducks, Red-head duck, Northern Shovler, Ruddy duck (a favorite of Jacob), Gadwall, and Bufflehead (also favorite).  

Canvasback females and juveniles 

What a beauty!

Ring-necked ducks, canvasback, and coot


Pied-billed grebes are a year round resident at the Mueller Ponds and are winning a place on my favorites list.  They are not brilliantly colored, super cute, or graceful, but their spunky attitude makes them dear to my heart.  Like a small terrier that thinks it is a pitbull, they drive at larger birds, race across the pond, and have a loud honking voice in contrast to their puny size.  Over the year, I like to think that I get to know them; I have seen a mama on a nest, hatch-lings with bold black and white markings, and triumphant adults pop up from underwater with a fish in its bill.  I find that I am looking always looking for the small brown bird that thinks it owns the entire pond, and makes me laugh.

What's your favorite bird or birds?  
Pied-billed Grebe

American Coots

 A Pair of Pied-billed Grebe

Doggies wait in the car after a nice walk
while I take duck photos.