After giving us gales and snow, our vacation island calmed down enough to attract a flotilla of Long-tailed Ducks.
They didn’t come ashore, but delighted me at a distance with their deep dives—-their tiny silhouettes disappearing and popping up elsewhere, rather like Loons.
These are sea-going ducks who dive for little crustaceans, small fish and the like. Their numbers were greatly depleted in the 1950s as thousands were tangled in fishing nets, and alas, they haven’t recovered much.
Long-tailed Ducks are still a threatened species, so I was cheered to see their pretty faces. Previously I’d only seen them in books.
Lonnie and Lola Long-tail were among the boldest birds today, swimming close enough for a telephoto shot.
I wish they had ventured closer, but I’m posting this photo to call attention to the plight of these beautiful diving ducks. The next time you see some ducks on a salt marsh who dive deep instead of dabbling —pull out your binoculars and you may be treated with this lovely sight.
Lonnie and Lola are in their winter plumage, and will get even more colorful in mating season.
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