Monday, February 20, 2012
Meet the new Old Squaw, the Long-tailed Duck
I recall my father with his arm and forefinger extended, excitedly whispering, "Look, an Indigo Bunting!", as if he'd just spotted an African lion in the New Jersey woods. My grandfather had a collection of birds' eggs so exquisite that it was given to a university after his passing in the early 80s. But, among all the vast variety of beautiful birds that are around us....ducks have always been special some how. If asked why that is true for me, I usually explain that they are rather the ne plus ultra of the bird world: they are among the strongest fliers (Blue-winged Teal can do 90 mph in level flight), they swim, they have an astonishing array of plumage designs.....and they 'QUACK', at least many of them do. The sound of a flock of ducks at rest is enough to make me smile: "...quack, quack, quaaaaack" like a bunch of seniors at a bingo game.
I do not really care. But, I can tell you that when my binos took in the sight of eight of these stunning creatures bobbing gently just off the rocks of Portland Head, I felt a rush of joy that only the sheer power of Beauty, yes, with a capital 'B', can bring about.
My thanks to Kevin T. Karlson, who is one of the best duck photographers out there, in Cape May NJ.