As I mentioned last month, the birds we see in the field are rarely posed like the illustrations in our field guides. Rather, we see them from underneath, or with parts hidden by leaves, or, as is so often the case, flying away. When it comes to dabbling ducks (and some other waterfowl), we may find that the most helpful field marks are underwater, and all we’re treated to is a view of the tail. If only we had a field guide that portrays these birds bottoms-up!
This bird at the top of the page was photographed in California in February.
As for the lower photos… moving clockwise, we have a bird seen in Arizona in May in the upper left corner, then two photos taken in Colorado in November. The lower right photo was taken in Washington in March, and the last in New Mexico one January.
Some are easy to identify, others are a bit more difficult. Can you name them all? The answer will appear at the end of a future post.