This is the first Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata) I have ever seen. Woohoo! This male, sporting his Eclipse plumage,was with a few other Northern Shovelers, including a female and some males in breeding plumage.
This is a female and a male in Eclipse plumage.
This is a male in Breeding plumage. The difference between the male Elipse and Breeding plumage is really striking, especially in flight. I know this from first-hand experience – I came upon a small flock unexpectedly and could only gape as they lifted off and flew away.
I was out birding on a really strange day, weather-wise. It was 75° on December 26th! Even for Texas, that is crazy warm. And the wind was relentless. I went out because I wanted to see what the birds would be doing in such crazy weather. My guess is that they were doing the same thing they do in normal weather for this time of year.
What surprised me was the larger-than-expected number of people and families out wandering the nature trails with me. Well done! I am always so happy to see other people out in nature. The more people get out and see our native animals in their natural habitats, the better chance we have of preserving these wild spaces. That’s what I believe, anyway!