Sunday, April 15, 2007

Ruddy Ducks and Dark-eyed Junco

My wife and I took a short drive to Poor House Farm Park in western Berkeley County, West Virginia, yesterday afternoon just to break the monotony of what had been a cool and rainy day. On the 5-acre artificial pond, I was surprised to discover a little flock of four Ruddy Ducks. I don't have a whole lot of experience with ruddies, but they hold a special place in my memory. They were a life bird for me when, on a field trip to some wetlands in southeastern Michigan in the late 1960s, my college ornithology professor, George Wallace, pointed out a flock of them rafting far out on a large body of water, with little more than their cocked tails visible as a key to their identification.

Along with the ruddies, the pond held three white Domestic Geese, five semi-domesticate wild-type Mallards, and eight white Pekin-type Domestic Ducks.

Earlier in the afternoon, we had spotted a late-lingering Dark-eyed Junco in our Martinsburg neighborhood.


Blogger Larry said...

I saw my first Ruddy Duck just this past winter. The little tail sticking up in the back was a helpful clue for me to identify it.
I was about 3 in the late 1960's.-I don't think I could have identified a Ruddy Duck back then.

April 17, 2007 7:23 PM  
Blogger Dys7topia said...

I've never seen A Ruddy Duck, but I'd love to!

The dark-eyed juncos, on the other hand, are a favorite of mine. We get huge flocks of them here in winter. They're still hanging around, though I imagine not for much longer...

April 18, 2007 7:11 PM  

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