[Tweeters] Weird duck

Connie Sidles constancesidles at gmail.com
Thu Oct 10 12:46:37 PDT 2013

Hey tweets, a strange-looking duck has been floating around on Main Pond at the Fill for several days now. It's clearly a juvenile, so I keep hoping it will turn into something recognizable, but so far, no luck. It looks like a hybrid between a Hooded Merganser and a Horned Grebe (winter plumage): pale face, dark crown, with a heavy black stripe going down the nape of its neck.

I vaguely remember (at this stage of life, every memory is a little on the vague side) somebody telling me about a known mixed couple somewhere, and I think the mixture was Wood Duck and Hooded Merganser. Not sure, though.

I have to confess I've never been very interested in the hybrids, but in case any of you are, there is also a dark brown Mallard with a white throat that got its genes into the pool some years ago and now produces some oddities too. I always thought it was just a domestic/Mallard mix, with the domestic descended from original Mallards. But I think you'd have to be a real duck fancier to tell for sure. I fancy ducks as much as anyone, but I prefer the ones untouched by human hand.

Other sights today: A gorgeous male Northern Harrier, gleaming silver-gray in the pale sunlight today as it floated by at head-height and turned its owl-like face to me for just a moment. Ah, what a moment.

Pacific Wrens are back, as are the wigeons and Ring-necked Ducks, and also the kinglets. It's good to welcome the ducks as we say goodbye to the swallows, don't you think? - Connie, Seattle


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