Date: 2/8/18 1:02 pm
From: Joseph C. Neal <joeneal...>
Subject: BREATHTAKING DUCKS ON ICE (Centerton hatchery)
Fish-rearing ponds at Craig State Fish Hatchery in Centerton are mostly or partially frozen. Most waterfowl there today were concentrated in just a few ponds where springs have kept patches open.

Canada Goose (93+, no Cackling Geese among them), Gadwall (~20), American Wigeon (11), Mallard (~90), Northern Shoveler (~25), Green-winged Teal (10), Redhead (10-12), Ring-necked Duck (~60), Lesser Scaup (~20), Bufflehead (15), Ring-billed Gull (15).

The geese were loafing on a sunny grassy embankment, joined by a few ducks, especially wigeons. The remainder were either standing on ice or paddling around in open water. When an adult Bald Eagle made a slow, low soar over the pond, all geese, gulls, and many ducks took off. Lots of the ducks returned.

The light today was just remarkable. I was able to sit in my car fairly close to the ducks and take in the remarkable diversity of their plumage. Itís just immaculate. Breathtaking, really. I think a person could with great profit to mind and spirit spend one life doing nothing more than studying the evolution of color in the plumage of ducks. I'd volunteer for the task, but whatever time I have left for such an undertaking would hardly scratch the surface. So instead, I'll just celebrate.


 
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