Avocet Floating

MArbled GodwitsI have been performing shorebird surveys at the Blanca Wetlands for about four years now and this spring I notice something that I have never noticed before; ducks acting like shorebirds! The Blanca Wetlands is filled with waterfowl during the spring migration and when you are trying to count shorebirds mixed in with the waterfowl it proves extremely difficult when they are all swimming around together, but this season the ducks are feeding on the shoreline! Looking through the scope I saw some marbled godwits feeding on the shoreline, and when I counted about 15 individuals I got to a bird that had its back turned towards me. It that was about the same size as the godwits, moved its head like a godwit, had a speckled back like the godwit, but I could tell it was not a godwit and when it turned its head… It was a duck! I could not believe that the duck looked and moved the same as the marbled godwits, and I have to say, it was super weird watching dabbling ducks act like this. We have only noticed the ducks feeding on the shoreline with the shorebirds in two of our ponds. I am not exactly sure what the food source differences are in those two ponds when compared to our other ponds, but it has our ducks acting like I’ve never seen them act before. Oh, but the strangeness does not end there. In some of our deeper ponds we have avocets that are acting like dabbling ducks! While scanning the middle of the pond I noticed a dabbling bird with its white/black tail feathers in the air. I did not think much of it until I noticed a pair of bright blue legs. As always, I got super excited to find this “new” bird in my birding book, so put the spotting scope down, grabbed my birding book, and when I looked through the scope again all I saw were some avocets. I was super bummed that I missed my chance to mark a new bird seen in my book, so I started counting the avocets and all of a sudden I saw them dive their heads under the water! More experienced birds may find these behaviors I noticed as typical foraging behaviors, but it was my first time really noticing these different behaviors and I found it to be really fun watching these birds

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