Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Duck Of A Different Color

Yesterday I told the story of the Runaway Ducks. When I was taking pictures of them, they kept swimming away from me. It's maybe not that unusual for that to happen, but for me it is. Any other time I remember seeing ducks they were a lot more friendly towards me. Some even swam over to beg for food. Not this time.

Even though my poor little heart was broken by these antisocial ducks, I saw something quite unusual. Well, for me it was unusual. I saw a male Mallard duck with very white feathers. Most times those feathers are light gray. I never saw one like it before. I knew when I saw it that I had to share at least one photo of it with others.

This particular duck was on the other side of the bridge I was standing on, from the other ducks. It was in a small group of about five. The section of the pond there is much smaller than the other sections, but there are a lot of plants growing there. That gives the ducks more places to hide from snoopy Duckarazzi(thanks Kruel!) like me.

Hiding is exactly what they were doing. When I tried to get any pictures of this group, they swam straight for cover. I still got some though, and the best is right here for all to see. In the photo above, you can see that he stands out from the rest. Males(drakes) are more colorful than females(ducks), but he is something special.

While I really like the white one, I like all of the others too. It's just that I've seen several of the grayer ones. Here's a typical one, from the same day, with gray feathers. You can see that it's beautiful in it's own right. The picture is a little on the dark side, so you can't really see the colorful green head.

Even the brown females are very beautiful. The brown ones were the first ducks I ever got any photos of. It was quite a while before I ever even saw any males. But now I can usually look around and see a drake and a duck paired up swimming side by side, like in my Lost In Time post. It must be love.

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  1. Hey, you got some good shots this time.

    I really like the first one. You're right when you see the females up close they look much more beautiful. The detail on the females is amazing.

    - Evan

  2. He is beautiful and what a great closeup shot.

  3. I was thinking the same thing, Cube. He looked like he had a fan club around him. ;)

    Thanks Evan. I actually have gotten some even better shots of ducks in the past. Maybe I'll put them up here some time when the winter gets to be too much for me.

    Those white feathers really made him stand out from the rest, Jodapoet.

    I really love ducks. There's just something indescribable about them for me.

  4. Hi Ratty! Here's some science for you: When an animal like your duck has more white than usual, it's called albinism (as in albino); when it's darker than usual, it's called melanism (think melanin, the dark pigment in skin that causes tanning). I wonder if your mallard is naturally albinistic or if he has a little of one of the white-feathered domesticated duck breeds in his ancestry? In any case, you're right, he certainly is a handsome fellow, and that extra white should help him blend into the snowy scenery and survive this winter!

  5. wow..thanks for that info our friend Ben because once i captured Painted Treeshrews that have darker in color and that is what my supervisor told me. Maybe because of the malanism. Good info..:)

  6. Thank you both. I knew about the albinism, but I never heard of the melanism before. I'll start watching for things like that from now on. :)

    I read that some of these mallards are mixed with other types of ducks sometimes. I saw a few pictures of albino black squirrels not too long ago. Instead of the usual black, they were snowy white. I guess it happens quite often with them. I think there were actually two of these white feathered ducks out there, but they were so busy hiding that I had trouble finding the other one.

  7. Hi, I love your duck photos and stories. I think mallards are great too. We don't really get any other kind over here, unless you count the ones people keep as pets or for eggs.

    I liked the photo of the male with the white feathers. It is nice when you find something strange. I have a male blackbird that lives at the end of my garden- he has loads of white feathers on his wings and back- it is a complete freak of nature and I love it! I will put the photos up on my site soon so do check for it :)

  8. Bemused - I've only seen mallards so far myself. There are almost as many mallards as Canada geese here.

    I will definitely be watching for your blackbird photos, because you're right, the most interesting thing is when you find something strange.