Thursday, November 26, 2009

Wood Duck~ Mississauga Wildlife Pictures ~ Sparrow, Squirrel, Mallards

Mallard ducks are commonly seen in Mississauga (Ontario, Canada), but wood ducks are a rare delight! When I saw my first one the other day, a male at Lake Aquitane, I took his picture as well as photos of other wildlife -- mallard ducks, a sparrow and a gray squirrel -- that were in and around the lake. Click on image to enlarge, then click the Back button to return to this page.

Mississauga Lake Aquitane
Jo-Anne lives in this area and emailed to tell me about the wood duck:
I just spent the past 1/2 hour in cold wind and rain, watching a male Wood Duck trying to mate with a female Mallard -- and having no luck! They are in the far NW corner of the lake, behind the community centre.

I grabbed my camera and drove to Meadowvale Community Centre, about a half-hour drive, where I parked near Lake Aquitane dock.

Male Wood Duck
I couldn't believe my luck! This male wood duck was still swimming around with the mallards, trying his best to woo a female mallard. His distinctive plumage made him easy to spot.
Says Jo-Anne:
The male Wood Duck was following her everywhere and making high pitch squeaky sounds.
He kept tilting his head back and showing off the beautiful bright white chin area. All of a sudden, he hopped right up out of the water and attempted to land on her back! She was having nothing to do with it!
He then started to follow her again, a male Mallard swam in front of him and they both had a hissing match. The male Wood Duck then decided to approach other female Mallards but they wanted nothing to do with him. They would quack at him then swim away. 

 Wood Duck Male with Female Mallard
The ducks swam around the dock area for about 20 minutes or so, the wood duck courting the mallard lady, with the male mallards in close pursuit, trying to protect their interests.

Male Wood Duck -- Female Mallard
Here's another shot of the ducks. The wind was fairly gusty, and the earlier rains seemed ready to return. The ducks were moving fairly quickly which made it a challenge to get a telephoto picture for a close up.
Two Males ~ Mallard and Wood Duck
This picture shows the male mallard swimming interference for his lady friend, as he tries to keep the wood duck at bay.
 Wood Duck and Mallards Swimming in Reeds
As the ducks left the dock area, they headed towards the naturalized grasses of the lake shore. For the next 15 minutes or so, the ducks continued to swim along the shoreline on the south side of the lake.

Almost as colorful as Woody the Wood Duck is Harley the Harlequin spotted the week of the Christmas Bird Count.

Male Female Mallards
With the wood duck heading along the lake shore, the remaining mallards -- male and female -- formed a group near the dock. Looks like there's safety in numbers! 

Sparrow in Red Wood Shrub
Also near the dock, closest to the community centre, the shoreline shrubbery was rustling with these little sparrows.
Gray Squirrel - Mississauga Lake Aquitane
The male wood duck and the mallards he was bothering had swum out of sight along the south shore. I continued along the trail that goes around Lake Aquitane, and came across this gray squirrel near the dam.
I feel sort of sorry for the male Wood Duck actually. He needs a female Wood Duck around.

So if anyone knows where 'Woody' can meet a female Wood Duck in the Meadowvale area of Mississauga, do leave a comment below telling me where, and I'll pass it along. I'm sure the mallards would appreciate his finding a lady of his own!

Here's the googlemap of the community centre. Scroll around, zoom out, to see lake and walking trails.

View Larger Map
Related: (On my website) Mississauga Wildlife pics