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Drake Harlequin Duck Swimming

Posted on Sep 25, 2015

Here is our pal the drake Harlequin Duck (Histrionicus histrionicus) making steady progress molting into his beautiful blue plumage. The species loves rocky, surf-battered coastal shores like ours here at Stratford Point in Stratford, Connecticut, and you can see it eagerly and adeptly riding the waves right at the tip of the point in between feeding.

Harlequin Duck drake Stratford Point 09-25-15-0197

Harlequin Duck drake Stratford Point 09-25-15-0252

Harlequin Duck drake Stratford Point 09-25-15-0225-2

Harlequin Duck drake Stratford Point 09-25-15-0319

Growing in so many new feathers takes a lot of energy. It also means that a lot of maintenance has to be done, and he preens almost endlessly when he is not feeding or swimming. This growth reduces his flight skill and stamina, and migrating anywhere now would be a difficult strain on his health. He certainly flies around, moving in and out of the site, across the mouth of the Housatonic River and a bit further into Long Island Sound, but these are short trips. Occasionally a gull bothers him a bit, but he is very content otherwise, allowing observes to get great scope views from perimeter trails. He tends to be a bit unpredictable with regard to tide but is often present in the afternoon and evening, sometimes midday and occasionally early morning. In a couple more weeks he will look even more dashing, and we hope you will be able to stop by to see him soon.

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation & Outreach Coordinator