birds, Florida wildlife, live and learn, nature, on closer examination, photography, pond creatures, unintended images

Duck, duck… coot!

There is no such thing as a duck. This may not come as a surprise to anyone but me, but there is no bird who’s name is just ‘duck’. Kind of like no bird is actually named ‘seagull’. I was out back with the new lens on the camera, the big, awkward lens, trying to become more used to handling it so that it becomes second nature. But there wasn’t much going on out there, or in the trees either, until I noticed a duck dive under the water and disappear completely.  The featured photos shows you this duck as he disappeared.  This diving seemed unusual to me and I focused the lens on the area, and when he popped up I realized that I had never seen a duck that looked like this one before. That black and white beak was definitely different. Merlin says that this a Ring Necked Duck, a male sporting breeding plumage.

Hmm, so I started looking for a female, and thought I had found one, but Merlin says this is a Pied-Billed Grebe.

This was now a challenge, so I put this photo through Merlin expecting it to be a Coot. But no, it’s a Common Gallinule, with it’s thick, yellow feet.


No, this one is an American Coot!  Another diving duck.  And there can be no doubt why the hour around sunset is the ‘golden hour’.

While I was sitting out there I kept trying to take a photo of the vultures flying overhead. But it proved very difficult to get one into focus with that lens. This was the only one of my attempted shots that turned out, and it turned out to be the one bird I’d seen that wasn’t a black vulture. They have white on the underside of their wing tips only. Nope, this is a turkey vulture, having white all along the outside edge of their wings.


I stand corrected. And befuddled. How could you possibly learn all this stuff? And besides, this is a snapshot of one moment in time.  Other varieties of birds come and go throughout the year.  My point is to take better pictures than I thought I could, but despite myself I’m learning a thing or two while I’m at it…