Monday, 11 March 2013

Duck Season

The only good thing about duck hunting season is that wetlands around Melbourne get an influx of birds. I don't know how they manage to do it but ducks seem to be able to predict this and start appearing in larger numbers 'down south' 2-3 weeks before the season starts.

One of the best locations on the Bellarine Peninsula for duck watching is Lake Lorne in Drysdale. I spent an hour there this afternoon and spotted 6 species.

Not surprisingly with the heat (36C at 5:30PM) most of the 100+ Freckled Duck were congregated under the willows on the islands in the centre of the lake.

Freckled Duck, Lake Lorne, Drysdale

However, some were cruising around on the lake reasonably close to shore

Freckled Duck, Lake Lorne, Drysdale

some in the company of other ducks

Freckled Duck + Grey Teal, Lake Lorne, Drysdale

and others found submerged perches on which to hang around and, in the case of the male, show off his red bill.

Freckled Duck, Lake Lorne, Drysdale

Both of the Blue-billed Ducks I found were much further from shore making photography difficult. This one looks like an immature male just coming into colour (the bill is not yet bright blue).

Blue-billed Duck, Lake Lorne, Drysdale

This mature male was displaying further out in the lake--I did not see any females so maybe wishful thinking--but it did provide a great (albeit long distance) view of the diagnostic tail.

Blue-billed Duck, Lake Lorne, Drysdale

Others included Hardhead, Pacific Black Ducks and Chestnut Teal

Hardhead, Lake Lorne, Drysdale
Pacific Black Duck, Lake Lorne, Drysdale
Chestnut Teal (male), Lake Lorne, Drysdale

The only species I did not manage to photograph was the Australian Wood Duck that were perched in the undergrowth on one of the central islands.

All were under the very watchful eye of the resident duck hunters: a pair of Whistling Kites.

Whistling Kite, Lake Lorne, Drysdale

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