Northern Pintails on the Basin

Northern Pintail males. (Willet in foreground.)
Northern Pintail. Three males, one female.

Last year’s super rainy season created huge ponds in the Berkeley Meadow (aka Sylvia McLaughlin Eastshore State Park). Somehow, ducks from faraway places spotted these unusual wetlands and descended.  Among them was the Northern Pintail, a distinctive bird with striking markings and a long tail.  I thought I would not see them again until the next deluge, which, judging by current forecasts, could be a very long time.  Yet in the early afternoon today, I spotted an odd-looking little cluster of dabbling ducks in the North Basin just beyond the triangle of mud on the north side of the Schoolhouse Creek channel at low tide.  Surprise! They are Northern Pintails, beyond a doubt.  I counted five, three males and two females.  All were in breeding plumage.  Check them out on the Cornell bird lab website and on audubon.org.  

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