The Eclipse

Mid to late summer as their ducklings become juveniles Mallard Ducks acquire what is known as eclipse plumage. As a result of the yearly molt males lose their distinctive shiney green heads and look suprisingly like females. Looking closely you can tell the difference – male beaks are of a greenish hue while the females are yellow and black.

Mallard Duck

During the few weeks of the molt the ducks are incapable of flight. This fact is what inabled me to take this photo; otherwise the birds would have flown upon noticing my arrival.

When courtship begins in the fall the males will have their distinctive look back and the cycle of life continues.

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Mallard Duck

Colorful Birds And An Exciting Find

A colorful and beautiful bird you’re just as apt to see at at a bird feeder as in the wild, is the Blue Jay. This is a photo I am particularily fond of which was taken in the fields of the Great Swamp Conservancy.

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Blue Jay

The next photo is of a colorful bird you most likely will not find at your feeder. However within the Conservancy this year there seemed to be quite a few, Blue-winged Warblers.

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Blue-winged Warbler

This last bird photo was taken this morning near the Beaver dam, a ten to fifteen week old male Ring-necked Pheasant.  It was an exciting find for me as I know last year the GSC released numerous pheasants into the wild which were raised here. So it would seem their efforts have paid off! This male will have a shiny green head in another four to five weeks. I’d like my shot at photographing him again at that time.

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Ring-necked Pheasant

Nature is always evolving and so is life within the confines of the GSC. Why not come out to the trails and see what is new today and at the same time you may even be adding a little color to your life.


Below is a set of four siblings produced and raised this year within the heronry at the GSC.

(click on images to enlarge)

Great Blue Heron

Birds of this size and age (about ready to leave the nest) keep the parents very busy in satisfying their appetites.

Great Blue Heron

This parent lands first at a nearby tree for what looks like a few moments of stress relief.

Great Blue Heron

And they deserve a moment for themselves as they produced four beautiful offspring.

Great Blue Heron

 I wish to thank all the staff and supporters of The Great Swamp Conservancy for making this possible and for promoting nature and conservation.