Monday, 25 June 2018

The weird display of the musk duck in Louth Bay

Musk duck is generally a bird of freshwater, but occasionally can be seen on the sea in sheltered bays outside the breeding season. There are currently at least 10 musk duck offshore from Tod's river estuary in Louth Bay, just north of Point Boston. They're a bit distant for photography but they're showing well through the scope. They really are the weirdest duck with the weirdest display. Imagine a giant, black ruddy duck with a huge bill and a enormous fleshy lobe hanging under the bill and neck. The display is amazing, the lobe is extended, the tail held erect with feathers spread like a fan while the feet splash jets of water behind! An amazing experience!

A drake musk duck in full display.

Tod river enters the sea at Louth Bay and is a great place for birds. It's currently the middle of winter in Australia and I can only imagine what it must be like in summer when all of the northern migrant waders are here. Apart from the musk ducks, on the sea at the moment are hundreds of grey and chestnut teal, 100 black swans, many Australian shelduck, pelicans, cormorants and crested terns. The estuary holds up to 50 masked lapwings and several white-faced herons. In the fields around the estuary, up to 70 Cape Barren geese., whilst other birds seen include spotted harrier, Nankeen kestrel, stubble quail and singing honeyeaters.

Note the two Cape Barren Geese in the foreground.

Australian shelduck and black swan.

Brown falcon

Common bronzewing

Little raven

Nankeen kestrel.

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