Here we are, below, in the Space Coast Festival's field workshop, the "Secret Life of Ducks", on Black Point Wildlife Drive, Merritt Island NWR, ready to see some ducks.
And below is what we found--thousands of ducks along with an enormous collection of foraging wading birds (only partially represented in the photo), among them, an Eurasian Wigeon, Roseate Spoonbills, and my first look at American Avocets.
Our patient and knowledgeable instructors on this field adventure are pictured below, Bruce Anderson, front scope, and Murray Gardler, just behind and slightly forward, both delightful in their leadership, their enthusiasm and their patience.
Seeing a duck through a scope is not always easy. They move. And sometimes they disappear before you have a chance to spot them. And when they're resting and preening they are often in groups, meaning you have to sort through ducks to find the field marks for the one you're searching for. But what a triumph when you succeed. Not only is the 'whole world' waiting, but they celebrate with you--you, your duck-spotting buddies and two genuinely enthusiastic instructors, all of which made for a warm and gratifying experience.
Blue-winged Teal sketch in progress
I learned tons of interesting facts about ducks, too many to absorb all at once. But I will share one duck life secret with you. Have you ever considered how all those ducklings in a brood happen to hatch out at the same time so they can swim along with mom? The female lays her eggs over a period of days, but she doesn't begin incubation until every egg is laid. Hatch timing is determined by the number of days incubated rather than the date the egg is laid. Smart ducks!The top series of images were taken at the Ritch Grissom Memorial Wetlands in Brevard County, Florida, with guide, photographer and Master Naturalist, Charlie Corbeil. Click the link and visit Charlie's beautiful photography.
Also visit the website of Master Naturalist, and photographer, Vince Lamb. Vince and Charlie were two of my guides while visiting Brevard County's beautiful places and wildlife during my January visit.
Visit Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival and mark the 2011 dates on your calendar.
And David McCree's festival reports at Blog the Beach will give you interesting information about the 2010 festival activities.
Also visit Space Coast Eco for informative descriptions of key natural areas and field trips for your visit to Brevard County. These excellent field trip posts are created by my Brevard County hostess, Marge Bell. You will also want to visit Space Coast Beach Buzz and FloridaBeachBasics for more visitor and wildlife information.
To view all my posts about Brevard County's Space Coast Birds and the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival, click here.
Linked to Bird Photography Weekly #78, at Birdfreak.com to celebrate the conservation of our world's birds.