Juvie Northern Pintails at K-Mart Creek

I am in my continuing education mode in bird identification.  As I have mentioned in previous posts, there is a bit of a ditch adjacent to a now defunct K-mart building.  It usually has a bit of water in it from run-off, etc.  On Christmas morning, as we happened to drive by, Ann and I spotted what at first we believed to be some Gadwalls.  As I always due in these circumstances, I drove closer and got hold my camera that is always with me.  In this case, I grabbed the Canon 7D with the 100-400mm lens attached.  I was able to get several shots, using a smaller aperture for a better depth-of-field, to get all of the ducks in focus.

It wasn’t until I uploaded the images to my computer this morning that I realized that the birds weren’t Gadwalls.  But, I really wasn’t sure still, what they were.  After consulting my Stokes Field Guide to birds of North America, and my Sibley Guide to Birds, I was able to ascertain that they were juvenile Northern Pintails.  They had the gray legs, dark gray bills and more rounded heads than Gadwalls.

juvenile Northern Pintails

juvenile Northern Pintails

So I am learning my lessons.  I found that I shouldn’t be too quick to make identifications.  Especially when it comes to waterfowl. (and Gadwalls).  I do know that I have come a long way in the past four years, getting a little better with my IDs.  I can now, at least, tell the difference between doves and sparrows.  The sparrows are smaller, right??

So, anyway, I thought you would enjoy the photo.  Click on it to see an enlargement.