On March 29, 2011, I was passing through Lucchesi Park for a meeting at the Community Center. There were the usual “assemblies” of geese and ducks not requiring much attention on my part…UNTIL… something not quite right… in this one group…
So I pulled out a pocket camera and quickly “grabbed” what I could, given the speed of the bird and the fleeting nature of its visit. Fortunately, I was able to capture enough, including the tuft on its head, to refer the photos to an avian photgrapher and “birder” of some considerable experience in Atlanta, Ga. Being a “belt & suspenders” kind of guy I also referred the photos to an expert in Cordova, Alaska.
After a fair amount of head scratching and local consultation in their respective parts of the world, they came back with similar responses:
- Georgia: “It’s a hybrid of some domestic duck, like a mallard or moscovy or interbred of the two.”
- Alaska: “I originally thought it was a variant of a speckled goose. After additional review it is most like a hybrid of a barn yard duck and a mallard.”
I will defer to the experts. I thought it was a duck that had been used as a paintball target. Of course, that explanation did not cover the tuft on the head…
Events such as a new “visitor” to Lucchesi are to be expected: “Like humans, plants and animals travel, often in ways beyond our knowledge and control. They arrive unannounced, encounter unfamiliar conditions and proceed to remake each other and their surroundings.”–Hugh Raffles, Mother Nature’s Melting Pot.