Harlequin Duck at the Ile de la Visitation Nature Park

November 21, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

VERSION FRANÇAISE

 

Nature continues to impress us at the Île de la Visitation Nature Park. Ornithologists and wildlife photographers alike all remember the visit of the female harlequin duck in 2013. At the time she was the star of this quaint little basin nestled by the Old Water Mill in the West end of the park.. (You can read about her HERE)

 

Harlequin Duck (Juvenile?) / Arlequin plongeur (Juvénile?)Harlequin Duck (Juvenile?) / Arlequin plongeur (Juvénile?)The Harlequin is a rare sighting in the Montreal region. The other night I sighted this duck at sunset. I came back today to get a good chance to photograph it. Before I knew it this duck flew right to me. Landed too close to me to take a picture. I had to move back, change lenses and almost missed a good shot...

L’Arlequin plongeur est rare dans la région de Montréal. L’autre soir, j’ai aperçu ce canard au coucher du soleil. Je suis revenue aujourd’hui pour obtenir une bonne photo. Avant que je sois prêt, ce canard a volé droit vers moi. Il a atterri trop près de moi pour prendre une photo. J’ai dû reculer, changer d’objectif et j’ai presque raté ma chance de prendre une bonne photo

 

What few people remember, is the presence of a small young male who has made the fast moving waters in front of the Rivière-des-Prairies Electric Central, its home for the past year. Given the distance for his little size, his shyness and the uninteresting plumage, photographers did not give him much attention. For the last few weeks our little Harlequin duck is sporting his full adult autumn plumage and a personality to match. He's proud of the beauty of his new plumage and it shows. It's now his turn to parade around the basin like the little female did in autumn 2013.

 

Male Harlequin duck splashing / Arlequin plongeurMale Harlequin duck splashing / Arlequin plongeurHarlequin duck splashing in water as he surfaces
Our little local star
Arlequin plongeur dans l'eau
Notre petite vedette locale

Histrionicus histrionicus

©2015 Steve Troletti - TrolettiPhoto.com

 

He seems to have adopted a small group of Canada Geese to keep him company. A sort of hate and love relationship. Although he is primarily concerned with food and feeding, from time to time we can observe him chasing geese just as as he can be chased by them. Although he's spent almost a year in the Nature Park, the risk remains that he may follow his instinct of autumnal grouping that could well lead him to follow the Geese as they take on their fall migration.

 

Harlequin Chasing Geese / Arlequin pourchasse les bernachesHarlequin Chasing Geese / Arlequin pourchasse les bernaches

 

For now, he seems happy. He's constantly diving for food while parading around for his human admirers.  If we're lucky, he will remain in the area for the winter, allowing us to admire him a little longer.

 

Male Harlequin duck - Arlequin plongeurMale Harlequin duck - Arlequin plongeurHarlequin duck swimming
Our little local star

Arlequin plongeur dans l'eau
Notre petite vedette locale

Histrionicus histrionicus
©2015 Steve Troletti - TrolettiPhoto.com

 

There is also another harlequin duck in the region, a female. It was observed several times and reported by reputable birders. Who knows ? That could lead to a first, harlequin ducks nesting here, in the Montreal area. Yes it's a bit of a far stretch...

 

Harlequin duck / Arlequin plongeurHarlequin duck / Arlequin plongeurHarlequin duck in water
Our little local star
Arlequin plongeur dans l'eau
Notre petite vedette locale

Histrionicus histrionicus

©2015 Steve Troletti - TrolettiPhoto.com

 

To observe this little jewel, go to the west end of the park in the vicinity of the old water mill. There is ample free parking on the neighboring streets near the Bistro (Cité Historia). Avoid parking at the chalet. The high cost of parking will assure you no security, on the contrary, it may expose you to harassment by an over zealous civil servant, even if you pay your parking fee and properly display your ticket on your dashboard.

 

The Google Map below shows you how to get to Cité Historia

 

 

 

 

 
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Most of the photographs in the galleries are available as prints or for licensing. For printing options, or if you'd like to purchase a license to use any of my photographs for non-exclusive editorial, non-commercial or commercial use, please contact me.

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