I was sitting out on my Mom’s lanai yesterday morning, enjoying a cup of coffee and talking with her, when an odd, sharp-whistling bird came flying in over the lake to land right in front of us, albeit on the other side of the jasmine hedge. This was all wrong. The bird was a duck. In my mind, ducks are supposed to quack. Not being an avid duck birder (and willing to admit it) – and having spent the last six months caring for far too many quacking ducks – my first impression of this duck was rather comical.
Of course, I DO know enough about birds to know that it was a whistling duck (imagine that!) and a quick consult of the field guide further identified it as a black-bellied whistling duck – and a handsome creature it was.
This photograph is from the USF&W public domain photos – because getting my own photo of this bird was impossible. Our visitor was an adult, richly colored and very striking, for a duck.
Even though it was only about 15 feet away, it remained hidden behind the jasmine hedge. It was eyeing up the neighbor’s corn-bearing squirrel feeder, but never ventured more than two steps in that direction. There was no mistaking the ID, but there was no photographing it either. The duck didn’t stay long, but took off with it’s characteristic whistling call after a few moments on the lake bank. Wrong, just wrong.