|Wood Duck - male|
|Ruddy Duck - male|
The next two birds were photographed in Barrow Alaska in 2010. The male King Eider has a colorful face.
|King Eider - male|
The Long-tailed Duck was formerly know as Oldsquaw. The breeding male here has a black head and neck with a white face. The body is brown and of course he has long spiky tail feathers.
|Long-tailed Duck - male|
Aransas NWR - Texas
The most difficult to find member of this family in the USA is the secretive 13" Least Bittern. Fortunately, Anahuac NWR is considered the best place in the USA to look for them. In the summer of 2008, my goal was to get a good photo of this bird. I went there Saturday and Sunday for 2 weekends in a row, but just got some mediocre photos. The next weekend, I tried again. I parked my car at the boardwalk and I guess this bird felt sorry for all my efforts as it climbed up on the reeds to eye level right in front of my car, 15 feet away.
|Least Bittern - female|
|Reddish Egret - white morph|
The last heron is the Boat-billed Heron. This nocturnal bird uses stays hidden during the day, but the guide in Panama knew of a roosting place and we saw perhaps 20 birds, both adults and juveniles. It is similar to the common Black-crowned Night-Heron, but has the peculiar enormous bill. I think I had seen this bird only once before in Brazil.
|Boat-billed Heron - adult|
The rails, coots and gallinules make up a family of chicken-like marsh birds. The coots and gallinules are common and easily seen in the open. Rails, however, are secretive and in general hard to see as they stay in the reeds. My best rail photo in the USA is this Virginia Rail that I photographed in Carmel, California in 2010.
photos copyright 2006 - 2015 David McDonald
To have these trip reports sent to your email, please email me at the above address and ask to subscribe