Sunday, March 11, 2018

Sunday Part 1 - Long-tailed Ducks at Point Roberts

The Long-tailed Duck is one of my favourite birds, one that I've seen on a few occasions. My
first was back in the 90's with our dearly departed friend Nick. It was at the seabus terminal in North Vancouver and he suddenly exclaimed "Oldsquaw". He was pointing at a mostly white duck with some black areas on the head and sides. In the early 2000's the American Ornithological Union officially changed the name to Long-tailed Duck.

I have seen the bird once or twice a year since 2012, usually in the early spring. In 2018 I've had a few sightings already, but none like this day.

Shortly after arriving at Lighthouse Marine Park, the first bird I photographed was a male about 50 meters offshore.

Long-tailed Duck - Lighthouse Marine Park, Point Roberts Wa

Also in the area was a Common Loon and I was able to get this shot of both species. Although the Loon is closer, it's easy to see how big of a bird it is compared to the duck.

Common Loon and Long-tailed Duck - Lighthouse Marine Park, Point Roberts Wa

Even closer to shore was another Long-tailed Duck, this one a female. She's still in non-breeding plumage, but the brown colouring is also featured in breeding season.

Long-tailed Duck (F) - Lighthouse Marine Park, Point Roberts Wa

Here are the male and female together:

There were some other birds active this day.

Pelagic Cormorant - Lighthouse Marine Park, Point Roberts Wa

Surf Scoter - Lighthouse Marine Park, Point Roberts Wa

I've shown this Loon in other posts, it's almost fully moulted into breeding plumage.

Common Loon - Lighthouse Marine Park, Point Roberts Wa

The next sequence of photos shows another male Long-tailed Duck who slowly made his way towards the shoreline. I think he was a loser in the battle to attract a female, maybe the one shown earlier. As he came close to shore, he put on some moves to show his worthiness.

Eventually he reached the shoreline and seemed oblivious to the three photographers who were recording his actions.

If I don't see another Long-tailed Duck this year, I won't be able to complain.

The last sight here was a Harbor Seal close to shore.

Harbor Seal - Lighthouse Marine Park, Point Roberts Wa

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