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#NotesFromTheRiver - That Old Coot!



No, no, no! That's NOT the kind of coot I meant!

 
Now, THIS is more like it!
American Coot (Fulica americana)
Photo by Doug Little

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#NotesFromTheRiver - Ducks That Whistle?


Black-bellied Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis)

 

Everybody knows ducks quack. Right? Well . . . yeah, sure. But not ALL ducks. Some ducks whistle, believe it or not, and since one of them, the black-bellied whistling duck, is a favorite of mine, that's the one we'll be talking about--and listening to--today.

Black-bellied whistling ducks were called Black-bellied TREE ducks back in the Dark Ages when I first started birding. The name made sense to me, because you so often saw this large, long-legged duck perched in trees, especially along tall, dead limbs that afforded the duck a great view in all directions. I'm not sure if that's why they liked those so much, but that's where they were often spotted. But some time ago, their "official" common name (which is an oxymoron, by the way, since common names are not official, and are often different from place to place) got changed to Black-bellied whistling duck. Unlike many of the other seemingly arbitrary name changes in ornithology, this one actually makes sense. As mentioned above, this bird whistles instead of quacking. If you can't imagine such a thing, go HERE to check it our for yourself. (But come right back. We have lots more to learn about this guy).

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#NotesFromTheRiver - That's Just Ducky!


Black-bellied Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis)
Photo by Doug Little

 

Today, I'm starting a new series of posts on guess what? Yep. Ducks. Well, ducks and duck-like birds of the St. Johns River area. I was going to put this all in one post, and then I realized there were far too many good things to cram it all into one post. So, instead, I'm going to divide this up by species. In the next three to four weeks, I will be sharing photos and information on some of the most beautiful and interesting birds to make the St. Johns River basin home for part, if not all of, each year. I hope you will enjoy learning more about the following:


Black-bellied Tree Ducks, Now Known as Black-bellied Whistling Ducks
(There was a reason for the name, you see.)

 

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#NotesFromTheRiver - Whacky Wednesday (on Thursday!)

(NOTE: Thought I'd scheduled this to go live yesterday, but apparently not. Since it didn't. Eeep.
So here it is today. Enjoy!)

~~~

New Feature Just For Laughs.
After all, one can never have too many of those, right?

~~~

 

Does anyone else miss Gary Larson's Far Side cartoons as much as I do?
If so,
this is your lucky day. I've chosen these as a sampling of how much
fun Larson had with wild animals, and I hope you'll get as big a laugh
from them as I did, starting with one that has a bit of significance
for me. (Hint: Check back through past posts.)


Now, without further ado, I give you Gary Larson's somewhat twisted
view of wildlife and nature.

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#NotesFromTheRiver - Florida Panther Part 2


Florida Panther (Puma concolor coryi)

In last week's #NotesFromTheRiver post, I introduced the stunningly beautiful and rare Florida panther, a subspecies of the western Cougar or Puma. The Florida panther prefers life in the forests and swamps of southern Florida, and is considered an endangered species. Sightings are rare, and unforgettable. Take it from me. I saw one over 30 years ago, and the image is still burned into my brain.

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