An open patch of water in Prospect Park’s Lake attracts everybody. The Ring-billed gulls — of which there were hundreds on the ice — had just taken off, leaving the Mute swans in charge. The crowd meant more fowl were on-shore and close to the path, grooming and resting. This allowed me to get up-close and personal with a couple of Northern Shovelers (Anas clypeata).I trust an explanation of their common name is unnecessary? That bill is actually wider at the tip than at the base; they use these to filter food from the water as they circle around and around in little co-specific fleets.
The American Coots (Fulica americana) were also close. This species can glean from the land.Just because they float in the water does not mean they are ducks. Coots are more closely related to the rails and cranes than they are to the ducks. Among many other differences with the ducks, note the feet here, which are lobbed on each toe as opposed to the duck’s complete web. And in an electric blue color, too.Schnoz ‘n’ toes.