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Long-tailed Duck

Russ Reynolds sends along some of his characteristically beautiful photos of a Long-tailed Duck that was found by Jill Bowers on April 2 on Grand Lake St. Marys. Enjoy.
Photo: Russ Reynolds
Drake Long-tailed Duck, still in winter plumage. The duck should be in the beginning stages of undergoing molt and transformation into its breeding plumage, in which it will become much blacker and quite different in appearance.
Photo: Russ Reynolds

Stretching his wings. This "Oldsquaw" (its former name) has a long way to go. Long-tails breed throughout the Arctic and near Arctic regions of North America, and nearly around the globe at high latitudes. The closest nesting locale to Grand Lake St. Marys is probably a good 1,200 miles or so to the north.

Photo: Russ Reynolds

A great catch by Russ on this one. It appears that the duck must have just surfaced from a dive, and is shaking off like a wet dog. Reaching the bottom of the very shallow Grand Lake would hardly be a challenge for a beast such as this. Long-tailed Ducks are champion divers, capable of reaching depths of over 200 feet.

Photo: Russ Reynolds

We don't see many Long-tailed Ducks in Ohio, and observing one here is always a treat. Elsewhere on the Great Lakes, they can occur by the thousands. The two lakes that flank our Lake Erie, Ontario and Michigan, get vastly more Long-tails as the ducks prefer the deeper colder water bodies, apparently.

Thanks to Jill Bowers for finding this bird, and to Russ for photo-documenting it.


Randy Kreager said…
Wow! Thanks for sharing! I think that I was in high school, the last time I saw an old squaw.

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