Date: 7/1/17 8:55 pm From: Wayne Hoffman <whoffman...> Subject: [obol] Details on apparent American Black Duck
My apologies once again for my smart(aleck) phone and its lingerie obsession. Also, I typed NWR, not NEW.
I was on the roadside of the Diamond road a few hundred feet west of the bridge over the Blitzen (channelized)
River, looking for ibises when the duck flew by from north to south at its closest about 60. from me. I did not get Binos on it until after it had passed me. It was skimming the vegetation as it approached, and rose to about 12' off the ground to cross the road, then dropped back down.
I saw a Mallard-sized, Mallard-shaped duck with very dark but obscurely streaked body, paler head, and distinctively white wing linings. It appeared slightly more streamlined than a Mallard but otherwise the same shape. It lacked the warmer straw-colored tones of female Mallards, particularly on the face. I did not get a clear look at bill color, nor any look at foot color.
I really think this was an American Black Duck, but am calling it "apparent" because I did not get any photos, and I did not see it well enough to distinguish from some Mallard X Black Duck hybrids.
I suspect this will be a very difficult bird to chase, as the habitat on both sides of the road here is quite rank, and I think closed to the public, even on foot. Perhaps the best chance will be if it turns up in a molting aggregation at somewhere like Benson Pond.