As any of the folks that have conducted migrating-waterbird counts – seawatches – can say, ducks in flight are relatively straightforward to identify. First, there’s flight style, which does a reasonably good job of allowing quick discernment as to whether one is looking at dabblers or divers, with the latter having, for the most part, more-rapid and shallower wingbeats, giving most diving duck species something of a frenetic look in flight. Of course, that feature is not at all useful in this venue, although some video quizzes would be fun.
Secondly, their wings are typically loaded with field marks on the top side, or completely lack field marks, which, in and of itself, is a very useful field mark, as there are very few duck species that sport no patches of white and/or other colors on their wings’ top sides. Once again, that does us no good with this month’s photo quiz.
Now that you know some things that would be useful in discerning these birds’ ID if you could simply look at the back side of the photo, you might well be set. However, this is where I will leave you to sussing these birds’ ID.
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