On Saturday May 5th we had a bit of sun so I set out to do some birding. I decided to head down to Black Dog Lake, since most of the lake is open water now I was hoping to find some migrating waterfowl. I came down from Cedar Avenue and as I passed the marsh, which is a part of Fort Snelling State Park, I saw my first great egret of the year. As I stopped the car to get some better pics he flushed and flew further back into the marsh but I was able to get a couple of shots as he flew by.
There still quite a few American coots around. I like coots because although they look and act like ducks they are really rails so instaed of webbed feet they have long lobed toes like the rails do. I thought that this picture was unique because the bird seemed to be caught on some vegitation or something. the other cool thing about this shot is the eye. Doesn't it look like he has a red M&M for an eye? I guess that I have never quite seen a coots eye at that angle before.
The small flock of ruddy ducks that has been hanging out at Black Dog was still there. this was very cool since I do not remember seeing many of these around last year at this time.
It is the beginning of the ruddy duck breeding season. Some of the males are already in their breeding plumage, see the first ruddy duck photo, while others, like the one above are still in the process of changing. You can see that the ruddy or rust colored breeding plumage is replaceing the gray plumage that the ruddies have during the non-breeding season. The bill is still pretty gray but looks like it is starting to lighten up. The ruddy duck is one of only two, the cinnamon teal being the other, that breed in both North and South America.