Look Lively, Mates!
You know it's been a good day when you realize you've taken well over 500 pics in a 2.5 hour span. And what a day it was!
A friend picked me up at 8 this morning and we arrived at Barnegat Lighthouse State Park in Ocean County, NJ at 10:30. There, we met up with 7 or 8 other naturalists and set out on the long rock jetty searching for sea birds. We hadn't gone far before the first Long-tailed ducks were spotted, followed by Black Scoters, Brant, and Common Loons. But we were nearly to the end of the jetty when we found a group of 12 Harlequin Ducks, doing what sea ducks do -diving and preening and being generally gorgeous. I didn't have time to scrutinize every shot, so rather randomly picked this one for a couple of reason - I like the setting, I like that one of the drakes (males) is yakking, and I like that you can see males in a couple of phases of plumage as well as a female in the back. I'l put a couple of other shots in Extra.
Harlequin ducks breed in Canada and Alaska but can be found along the northeastern seaboard in winter months. One of the best places in the mid-Atlantic to see them is at this location where they can frequently be viewed very close. They are stunning birds, almost looking as if they've been cast in plastic. And rather than quacking, they make very unducklike squeaks.
It was unseasonably warm and brilliantly sunny which made for a really enjoyable day on the seashore. I'm a very happy bunny.
Thanks for stopping by!