Hidden amongst the detritus

Several weeks after torrential rains had caused significant flooding in this area, I took a walk at the lake (more from that walk here, here, and here).  That the flooding had been extensive is uncontested.  In fact, a week later the floodplain was still a lake unto itself, and that provided an interesting canvas for freezing temperatures.

But during my walk before the weather turned cold, the results of the flooding lay everywhere.  Most of it was natural debris, such as twigs and sticks and leaves.  Occasional tidbits of litter also could be found, yet the flood’s most apparent traces were pieces and parts of local flora.

My walk took me close to the pier in Sunset Bay, and I spied a large number of ring-billed gulls (Larus delawarensis) standing upon it in the morning light.  They were preening and gabbing, and then gabbing and preening.  I made my way toward them to see if I could get a photo or two.

Ring-billed gulls on the pier with American coots beneath them and double-crested cormorants in the background

From that vantage, I could also see double-crested cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus) further out in the water and a few American coots (Fulica americana) bobbing along under and beside the pier.  Something else caught my attention, too.  Behind the brush and tucked away on top of a large pile of flood-related debris that had been washed ashore, I spied a dab of white in the lower-left corner of the frame, something too large to be a bit of flotsam.  Besides, it was moving.

I ventured further out on the pier for a better look.  What I discovered was a beautiful white duck.  Like the gulls, it had nestled down in a comfy spot to preen and enjoy some early sunshine… you know, something to take the chill out of the morning air.

A white duck preening while nestled atop natural debris on the shore

This appears to be the same species of duck I’ve seen before but could not identify.  White ducks come in various flavors and… wait for it… they all look alike: white, and like ducks.  There are many of this particular breed at the lake.  In fact, I also caught a few of them doing a drive-by while I took some video of an egret.

Because she seemed comfortable and busy with her morning routine, I left her where she was and bothered her no more.  Although I’ll add she didn’t seem bothered by me much at all.  After one quick look when I first approached her, she went right back to grooming and cleaning without a second glance.

[Update] I have since identified the white duck as a pekin duck (a.k.a. domestic duck, white pekin duck, or Long Island duck; Anas domesticus).

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