I had a great time in Washington, DC this weekend. I had a ton of things to do Monday morning to catch up after a few days away, but it was so beautiful out that I decided to stop by the park for a few minutes. I had heard there was a pair of Common Loons hanging out there, so I thought I’d look for them. As soon as I got there, I spotted a pair of Ring-necked Ducks just a little farther away then I wished they were. I sat on the bench to see if they would come closer, and very slowly they did.
I sat and watched them for a long time, wondering if I should leave and look for the loons. But I always have a hard time leaving a good photographic opportunity–even if I found the loons, they would probably be too far away for a decent picture. So I sat and enjoyed the spring-like weather and watched the ducks.
There were a lot of robins and cardinals around. Also, there were a number of beautiful Trumpeter Swans nearby as well as many Canada Geese and Mallards.
But really, the day was mostly about the Ring-necked Ducks. I ended up staying for much longer than I had planned just watching them swim, and dive, and nap. I often wondered why it’s called a Ring-necked Duck, as I really don’t see the ring on it’s neck–I always look for the white band on the bill. I found this on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology All About Birds website:
This bird’s common name (and its scientific name “collaris,” too) refer to the Ring-necked Duck’s hard-to-see chestnut collar on its black neck. It’s not a good field mark to use for identifying the bird, but it jumped out to the nineteenth century biologists that described the species using dead specimens.
It makes me feel better that I’m not the only one who can’t see the ring around the neck!
I did look for the Common Loons for a bit, but never saw them. I’m glad I stuck with the Ring-necked Ducks–it was a lovely morning in the park.