"I'm going to speak my mind because I have nothing to lose."--S.I. Hayakawa

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Duck Hunting and Honking' Honkers

Today was not an ideal day to do either of the two things I wanted to do.   Windy with frequent rain showers passing through , with few breaks.  Good day to stay home (for a change) and do a few housework chores.

And that's exactly what I intended to do when I got out of my chair in the living room and headed into the kitchen.   I would strip my bed and then mop the kitchen floor.

Somewhere along the path to the bedroom, it occurred to me that I should make a quick trip out to Tern Lake to see what ducks were there today.   Many of them are transient ducks--on their way farther north--so being at the lake at the right time is important.

Next thing I knew, I was dressed for picking up litter and driving slowly by Tern Lake, trolling for ducks.   The usual suspects were there--the mallards and the goldeneyes and the mergansers, but also some transients, like Zorro the Ring-necked duck:

Such a fine fellow.   He doesn't look quite so angry in profile:

As you can see, the wind was still blowing and it was raining lightly, so I headed 18 miles down the road to check on another good place for ducks.

Guardrails line both sides of the road at Mile 18 marsh, so I cruised by slowly, checking to see if I should stop and sneak up on the ducks.   Duck hunting conditions looked good, except the wind was howling and it was raining.


I drove another few miles to a lily pad pond, but saw only mallards and goldeneyes.

 I headed back to Mile 18, and as I approached, the rain quit, the sun pierced the clouds and a rainbow appeared over the marsh I was headed to.

Now, those are propitious signs in my book, so I parked a quarter-mile from the ducks--a quarter-mile because of those darned guard rails.

As I neared the ducks, I saw two Canada geese.    I've always liked them, such handsome geese.   A bit earlier, I'd see a battalion of them floating on Kenai Lake, all facing into the stiff wind and rain.

Canada geese with Northern Pintails facing into a stiff wind and rain.

These two were the only ones in the marsh.

They're also called Canadian honkers, and honk they did.   They told all the ducks in the marsh that an intruder was coming and all the ducks in the marsh departed for other places.

Northern Pintail drake.

Northern Pintail drake.

Northern Pintail drake.

 Do you think I could get just one of these pintails to look up for a quick photo?    Nope, not even that Northern Shoveler swimming in the opposite direction.  (far right of the flock)

Big-mouthed honkers!


  1. Any day outdoors is better than doing house chores. Great pictures, Jeanne. I'm glad you do the research to tell us what we are looking at. Thank you very much.

  2. I'm with you. Housework can wait when more important opportunities come to mind.

  3. Some beautiful photos. Do I ever relate to the theme .. "I left my chair for the kitchen and I was on my way to the bedroom to .. " and then I got distracted. Too funny Zorro from head on and then profile and how different he appears. Whew it sure looks familiar and it sure looks good. Who knows when Patti and I will be down that way again. I hate to say it so I will only think it .. "IF we will be down that way again." Smiles from Patti and I ..

  4. It hit me how very different the words "duck hunting" mean to you ... so different from that duck hunter with a gun! Great pictures and I always greatly appreciate you telling us what each species is. By all means, I intend to get down your way again! Hugs. Patti