When I turned onto Chestnut Hill Dr. from Beacon, I saw large group of birds on a small patch of open water. My heart skipped a beat as I caught a fleeting glimpse of a drake Northern Pintail in the mix, that color pattern is quite distinctive! After parking I made my way back towards the West side of the reservoir I added Common Mergansers, Hooded Mergansers, and was surprised to see a female Wood Duck in a flock of Canada Geese. Additionally a Song Sparrow sure new it was spring from his non-stop singing (full checklist here).I saw a flock of ducks take off and was hoping the Pintail wasn't among them, but fortunately he was still in the same place and keeping company with a group of Mallards.
|Northern Pintail Preening|
I think that many of our local ducks are quite beautiful (Mallards, Green-winged Teals, Wood Ducks) but none of them holds a candle to a drake Northern Pintail in sheer elegance. The long and slender profile combined with the chocolate brown head with white accents and the textured back make him a pretty dapper sight. I kept thinking that he was dressed in him finest suit and there were no ladies to be impressed. Maybe he'll fine the female that over-wintered between Jamaica and Leveret Ponds. He even flashed his green speculum feathers while preening. I spent maybe 10-15 minutes watching him and taking pictures. Much of the time while I was there he was vocalizing with a soft trilled whistle, much sweeter than a Mallards harsh sounds. But honestly, what else would you expect from a duck dressed like that? He actually sounded similarly to the Eurasian Teal at Newton City Hall. I tried to take a video so as to share his vocalizations but I'm afraid its a little jittery as the post-processing stabilization didn't work at all! But I thought I'd still include it just for the vocalizations, which will probably require that you turn up for volume a fair amount.