A rare little duck

As you may know, I keep a list of all the birds I identify. With every new bird I see, that's one fewer that is possible to see for the first time, if that makes sense. At any rate, it becomes more difficult to see new bird species the longer I do this, so I sometimes go out of my way to see something new. This past weekend, Sarah and I decided to try to see a duck species that rarely shows up in this country, the Masked Duck, (Nomonyx dominicus). This species is named for the black mask that the male exhibits during the breeding season. Because of the rarity of this species, combined with the fact that people had been successful in relocating it a number of times during that past week, there were quite a few people from far away trying to find it when we were there. One couple was down from Ontario, and the man who ended up spotting the duck had come down from Georgia. We saw a Peregrine Falcon perched in sight of our apartment before we left, and the last bird we saw that day was a Barred Owl beginning its evening hunt. It ended up being a sort of funny little adventure of a day, and we were glad we took the trip. Below is the best photo of the duck I could get through a spotting scope.


My first red drum

I've often seen Red Drum (Sciaenops ocellatus) while spearfishing, but they're only legal to catch with rod and reel, so I've never gotten one. I went surf fishing (standing on the beach, casting into the surf) this past weekend with my coworker and friend Steve, and among the fish we caught was this Red Drum.

I also caught a spiny puffer (Diodon sp.), and Steve caught a red drum and these three Florida Pampano (Trachinotus carolinus) below. I also went spearfishing this weekend, and shot a sheepshead, but it's cold and a little bit slow this time of year, so I think I'll try to do more fishing with rod and reel.