Ducks in the Hudson

This winter has been terrific for seeing all sorts of ducks in the Hudson Bay–today I saw a red-throated loon (what a misnomer for winter identification), two mergansers, a bobbing male bufflehead about 20 feet from shore, and a flock of Brant geese. I can never get enough of watching their miniature parabolas upward before disappearing beneath the water.

This picture is of a different duck, the Labrador Duck, extinct from the New Jersey area since the late 1800’s. Presumably it also spent the winters bobbing along the coastline in between dives for mollusks.

Hopefully the diving and dabbling ducks we have now won’t be artistically posed in a display for their curtain call.

Three Labrador ducks, front one presumably in breeding plumage, at the American Museum of Natural History. Photo by author, 2016.

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