I made two very cold trips around Alligator Lake this morning. The Masked
Duck was about 25 paces past the first handkerchief around 8am, skulking in
the weeds and not doing much of anything. The sun was in my face but I
simply stood in the shadow of a tree and saw the bird just fine. As I
continued on around the lake, I saw a hunter go by in a little john-boat,
toward the duck. My second walk around the lake confirmed that the Masked
Duck isn't going to be his dinner tonight. But the bird was a bit more
active this time; it preened, dove for food, and flew about 10 feet, just to
make sure I saw its wing patches.

Other interesting birds (for me anyway) were a Merlin, and about 75 American
White Pelicans feeding actively together. Oh, and one or two Coots.

Aside from the star of the show, other ducks included Wood Duck, Blue-winged
Teal, Northern Pintail, a female Canvasback, Redhead, Ring-necked Duck,
Bufflehead, Hooded Merganser, and Ruddy Duck.

James A. Wheat
Jacksonville, FL

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