The Freckled Duck has to be one of the most drab and ordinary waterfowl around and to be honest, one that I’ve photographed a few times but hesitant to share online.
But I guess birds can’t all have dazzling plumage merely to make them interesting or Photogenic.
I did read somewhere or other that it is rarely seen in the wild, but I suspect that’s more to do with their ability to blend into their surroundings as much as reduced numbers. Apparently, it is often mistaken for other breeds and shot by hunters during the duck-shooting season here in Australia.
It’s beak is characteristically wedge-shaped, slightly upturned at the tip and the male becomes bright red over the base when breeding.
But I was glad I’d photographed it in the end as its fanned tail helped me identify a Musk Duck down at St Kilda beach one day (which looks very nondescript and similar).
The Australian Wood Duck (Chenonetta jubata), is one of the commonest ducks to be seen around Melbourne’s public parks and gardens and I seem to have photographed them more times than most other birds (except perhaps the Nankeen Night Heron and the Pacific Black Duck, that is).
Northern side of the Royal Botanic Gardens (when I got a little too close to this Mother’s teenage offspring).
A Male duck heads straight for me when I got a little too close.
An enormous family of ducklings (14 altogether in this one family) – Treasury Gardens, east of Melbourne’s CBD (central business district). There were originally 10 ducklings and a few days later there were 4 more smaller ones, but I never saw more than one set of parents.
The same family as the previous image – Treasury Gardens, Melbourne
(male in the front with the dark head) – Nympheae Lake, Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne.
Ringwood Lake, outer eastern suburb of Melbourne
The eastern rim of the large Ornamental Lake, Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne
Image made at the end of summer when the Maribyrnong Wetlands pond was almost dried up. (note: it did eventually dry up completely).
Looks like a couple of clear sunny winter days coming up next weekend according to the weather forecast, (which is always wrong 🙂 ), so I hope to have some new images to share afterwards. I’ve been out and about in recent days with shopping, errands and/or appointments, but not doing photography. There was a time when I’d take a camera everywhere, but not so these days.
On the way to Newell’s Paddock (via the river cycling/walking path) last Friday, I came across a pair of Australian Wood Ducks(Chenonetta jubata) dozing in the sun on a tiny jetty. I walked up behind them quite close and fully expected them to fly away, but they didn’t.
Both opened and closed their eyes from time to time to keep an eye on me.
Then I slowly walked up to about 3 feet behind them. They were one very tame couple.
Absolutely amazing and I felt really honoured to be allowed to observe them so closely.
By the way, the image below shows what superb weather Melbourne is having at the moment. Even Melbourne’s ever present wind has died down in recent days. The Park Ranger I was talking to in Newell’s Paddock Conservation and Wetlands Reserve was telling me we are going to have a very dry winter here in Melbourne. This does not bode well for the flora and fauna, either now or next Summer.
But for the time being, at least its great outdoor walking weather for me.