Gadwall, bird of the week

A typical brown duck, the Gadwall (Mareca strepera) barely draws your eye when you see it in a crowd of ducks. I noticed this one as I drifted past in a skiff on the shallows of Mangalajodi because it looked so plump. I could recognize it by the orange legs, and the noticeably black beak and rear. The shallow waters at the edge of Chilika lake must be wonderful for these dabbling ducks, the ones which feed on leaves and shoots of water plants. This one was clearly getting ready to fly to its breeding grounds in central Asia. Across the northern hemisphere, wintering Gadwalls have begun to fly north. In India, and many places near the tropics, the major sign of spring is of birds leaving for their breeding grounds. I was surprised to find that breeding populations have only recently established themselves in the UK (most Gadwalls there are winter visitors!) and the USA.

There aren’t many places on WordPress where bird watchers can share posts. If you post any photos of birds this week (starting today and up to next Monday), it would be great if you could leave a link in the comments, or a pingback, for others to follow. There is no compulsion to post a recent photo, but it would help others to know when and where you saw the bird. You might consider using the tag “Bird of the Week” in case people search for old posts using it.