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Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge

Ducks with Attitude

When we left this male the night before he seemed content to sit next to his female and watch the world drive by; in other words, he seemed as content as all the other Cinnamon Teal couples we observed as we drove around the refuge. So, I was more than a little surprised when I stopped to take another shot of him the next morning as we left and he suddenly rushed out into the water, quacking up a storm.

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It was several moments before I glimpsed the sight of another male Cinnamon Teal just inside the camera frame.

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The fellow was obviously just letting a rival know that this chick was his,

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a common event in the crowded world of wildlife refuges.

I expected the other male, especially since it seemed considerably smaller would simply fly away as most ducks do when confronted. Apparently, it didn’t like being bullied, and they spent several minutes chasing each other in small circles,

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quacking loudly the whole time.

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The action was so fast and furious that even my camera couldn’t keep the squabble in focus.

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It finally ended up with both males flying around

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and only one returning. To tell you the truth, by then I really wasn’t sure if the original male had driven the other one away, or vice versa.

Categories
Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge

What Color is Cinnamon?

I must have seen more Cinnamon Teal at Bear River than I’ve ever seen anywhere, a real treat since I seldom see them here in the Pacific Northwest. Photographically, it was a special treat to see them at first light.

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The male seemed to glow in the morning light.

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Of course, it’s hard to know the real color (assuming there is such a thing) of a male Cinnamon Teal because they look quite different in different sunshine.

I must admit that I was a little surprised when I saw this Cinnamon Teal standing on a log because he suddenly looked a lot shorter than he did when he was in the water. Those big feet and big beak, made me remember it’s actually a rather small duck, much smaller than a Mallard.

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This Cinnamon Teal was just outside the driving tour on the way back.

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He didn’t appear quite so mellow when I saw him the next day, but that’s a tale for another day.

Categories
Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge

Tres Amigos

I pointed out in my last blog entry that I almost always find White-faced Ibis where I find American Avocets. I should also have noted that wherever I find Ibis and Avocets I also find Black-Necked Stilts. The three seem almost inseparable.

We saw this Black-necked Stilt nesting in the same area where we first saw avocets as we entered the refuge.

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This year there seemed to be more Black-necked Stilts than Avocets at Bear River, and I found it just as hard to resist taking pictures of them as I did of taking pictures of Avocets. And as you probably already know, I have a hard time resisting reflections in the water.

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Though they lack the Avocets soft orange plumage and curved bill, I love their spindly legs that must have given them their name.

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Although generally seen foraging in shallow water, large numbers of them were in drier areas, too

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Though they lack the striking colors of Avocets and White-faced Ibis, I can’t resist the charm of this spindly wader.

Categories
Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge

White-faced Ibis at Bear River

Anywhere where I’ve found Avocets I’ve also found White-faced Ibis, and Bear River was certainly no exception on this trip. In fact, I think we saw more White-faced Ibis than we did Avocets. There were flocks of ibis flying overhead

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throughout the refuge.

I still haven’t decided whether the distinctive silhouette with the curved beak

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or the gaudy plumage when in breeding colors

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is more distinctive.

I do know it’s hard to not take a shot of every ibis you see

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because you’re never sure what the plumage will look like in a particular shot because the iridescent colors look entirely different in different light.

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Sometimes you get lucky and the sun is at just the right angle and you get these kind of brilliant colors.