Thursday, January 29, 2009

Harlequin Duck

Harlequin Duck, Histrionicus histrionicus. I saw a pair of Harlequin Ducks in the Prince William Sound (Alaska). We had hiked up along the steep mossy banks of a rapidly flowing, cold river, surrounded by huge, lichen-covered conifers. At the top of the rise, there was a placid, icy lake obscured by a thin, wispy coating of white mist that danced in the light breeze. There, on the far side of the lake, under the cover of some waterside shrubs was a pair of Harlequin Ducks. I could see their bold markings and steely grey and red-brown plumage from across the lake. They paddled idly in the still water, far out of reach of everything but the camera and remained small in my sight, even then. They seemed to have not a care in the world and for a moment, neither did I.

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