Friday, August 02, 2013

Gadwall Ducklings

Gadwall Ducklings - Anas strepera

On July 30, 2013, I decided to bushwack around the entire circumference of the Glenmore Runoff Reservoir. The trees and brush on the West side are thick and the shore steep. At the North end is an area where ducks nest. The area is about two or three hundred meters from my usual vantage point. I knew Gadwalls had nested in the area but I did not expect to find four families!

I saw two families with a female and six ducklings, one family with a female and three ducklings, and one family (smallest ducklings) with a female and a male with two ducklings.
On July 13, I saw a mother with 5 ducklings on the Runoff Reservoir. The ducklings were all larger than any of the ducklings that I saw on July 30, and all looked flight-ready. This implies that the Glenmore Runoff Reservoir was home to at least five Gadwall nests this year.

The usual clutch is 8 to 12 eggs. I have not seen any families with more than 6 ducklings. During the inundation of June 20, the water level in the reservoir rose modestly and the nests in this location were spared the full fury of the flood.

The duckling above was swimming very fast and I managed a few hasty shots. My shutter speed was too slow for the light and the images are darker and not crisp, but courtesy of some adjustments with my iMac, I produced a "Monet Lily Pond-like" image. The duckling is reflected and shimmering (slightly out of focus).
The mother in the photo above and the two ducklings in the photos below were in the Runoff Reservoir on July 16, 2013.
Gadwalls are dabblers and are sometimes called "Grey Ducks," because the males have very nondescript plumage. The females are a nondescript brown and very similar to a Mallard female.


The Atlas of Breeding Birds of Alberta. Federation of Alberta Naturalists. 2007.

Baicich PJ, Harrison CJO. Nests, Eggs, and Nestlings of North American Birds. Princeton UP. 2005.

Fisher C, Acorn J. Birds of Alberta. Lone Pine Publishing. Edmonton. 1998.

Sibley David A. The Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior. Alfred A Knopf, Inc. New York. 2001.

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