Oxyura jamaicensis

A new-to-me waterbird at Legacy Park! I was delighted by the bright blue bill on this male ruddy duck.

I’ve read that ruddy ducks are very aggressive toward each other and toward other species, but this fellow was behaving peacefully. Apparently they will even chase rabbits feeding on the shore. During courtship, males beat their bill against their neck hard enough to create a swirl of bubbles in the water. Pretty intense!

The genus name Oxyura is derived from Ancient Greek oxus meaning “sharp”, and oura meaning “tail”. Ruddy ducks were imported into the UK in 1948 and have since spread to Europe, where they are considered invasive.

Schoenoplectus acutus

The wetlands in Legacy Park are alive with red-winged blackbirds, great-tailed grackles, mallards, coots and egrets. I like to sit by the tules and watch the interactions. Today there were a lot more drakes (9) than ducks (2); the females were getting persistently pursued and didn’t seem too happy about it.

Plegadis chihi

I was walking the dog in Legacy Park when I spotted the distinctive shape of an ibis! It’s the first time I’ve seen one in America (they are very common in Australia). The white-faced ibis Plegadis chihi is sighted so infrequently in these parts that my birding apps didn’t even offer it as a possibility. But I checked with my naturalist friend Suzanne, and she confirmed the ID. It was a pretty metallic bronze-green colour. Made my day!