Wintering waterfowl

Winter waterfowl on Choptank

Winter waterfowl on the Choptank

There’s a spot on Maryland’s Eastern Shore that birders and photographers know where wintering waterfowl (with a little help from their friends) are easy to see.

I’m totally smitten with American Wigeons, which I’d never seen before.

American Wigeon pair

American Wigeon pair

amwi m1

The Wigeon male gives a soft, whistling call year-round.

amwi f crop

American Wigeon female

It’s been years since I’ve seen Canvasbacks.



canv m1

Canvasback male

canv f1

The Canvasback female looks like an antique decoy

I mistook a Redhead for a male Canvasback. See the difference in this photo.

redh and canv

The Redhead has a black-tipped blue bill, while the Canvasback in the foreground has a uniformly dark and narrower bill.

redh m1


Lesser Scaups are busy diving ducks, powered by strong, back-set legs.

scaup lesser m

Lesser Scaup male

lesc f2

Lesser Scaup female

In in the distance, Surf Scoters swam back and forth in their distinctive line.

surf scoters

Surf Scoters

canv f amwi m canv m

Can you ID these ducks?

About the author Martha Johnston

A Master Naturalist toting a point & shoot camera and a basket full of field guides.

All posts by Martha Johnston →


  1. H.J. for avian101 January 9, 2019 at 9:29 pm

    The duck in the middle is the American Wigeon. The ones front and back are Canvasbacks. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person


    1. No doubt in my mind that you’d know, H.J.!

      Liked by 1 person


  2. From back to front: Male canvasback, male wigeon, female canvasback? I didn’t look at the answer above until I’d typed mine. YAY! As a super-amateur birder (Look! A male cardinal!), this was a really wonderful little lesson. Thank you! (And please do more! )

    Liked by 1 person


    1. Aces, Cy! Full disclosure: Before Tuesday I wouldn’t have been able to ID the wigeon without a field guide.

      Liked by 1 person


  3. Wonderful shots, I’m glad you got close and personal with the American Wigeons. I was most excited seeing them too at that special place to capture our wonderful wintering ducks! 😊 Second, came in the Redhead, I only saw one myself. You’ve got me definitely heading back there to look for those Surf Scoters, they weren’t there when I stopped.

    Liked by 1 person


    1. Oh, but to have seen Goldeneyes like you did!

      Liked by 1 person


  4. Great post, as usual. Reading this reminded me that I recently dreamed that I saw a Mandarin duck in Tuscany-Canterbury.



    1. Well, definitely let me know if you see that duck when you are awake! πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person


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