Canvasing Kentucky

It’s coming down to the wire, but with this post, I am pretty sure I can hit the quota for another month.  Would hate to end a long multi-year streak because of Halloween decorations – wait a minute, that might actually be a valid reason seeing as how I was spending most of the night trying to learn how to make molds.  It is obvious to me that some key steps were left out of all the YouTube videos I was watching before trying it out myself.  As always, I’ll leave the details for a future project post (foreshadowing… after some trial and error I’ve now been able to fill in the missing details and a second attempt turned out very nice!).  Luckily, sleep isn’t that big of a deal for me so with the Halloween work out of the way, I can still bring you tonight’s featured duck…

Canvasback shot around Kentucky Dam April 2015

That there is what you call a Canvasback Duck.  This particular specimen was found near the Kentucky Dam while on a trip we took down there to do a little birding back in April 2015.  In case you are wondering, it is a well known fact in the photography world that you have to let images sit in the chemicals for at least two years before they will develop.  Talk about the disappointment when you wait that long, come back into the darkroom and find out your chemical balance was off – back to the drawing board – another 2 years and fingers crossed you have something good enough to post on your blog.  Admittedly, this set is a bit soft around the edges, but still better (mainly because they are closer) than the previous time I had a post on this duck (link here). If I recall correctly, that other post was from Henderson Bird Viewing Area in Henderson Nevada – If you  call yourself a birder and have not been there yet – shame on you hehehe.  As mentioned, this one was a little closer to home.  The Canvasbacks are pretty easy to identify in the field.  Although their coloring will pretty much lead you right to them, it is really their profile which makes them stand out.  If you look from the side they have a downward sloping profile from the crest of their head to the end of their rather large snoz.  You might have a tendency to get them mixed up with the Redheads due to the similar color palette, but if you pay close attention to the bill you will notice that the Redheads have a brighter grey bill that looks like they were used for writing instead of quills back in the day (they have a black tip),

Canvasback shot around Kentucky Dam April 2015

The Canvasback pretty much has all of Central America up through Northern Canada covered somewhere during the seasonal migrations.  Being April guessing this one was doing some final fishing to build up energy for the trek up North.  Not a lot I can really tell you about this duck due to my go to reference site (Cornell) being pretty light on the details.  Apparently they breed in prairie potholes – we prefer to call them muddles in these here parts.  They are clearly on the larger end of the diving ducks.  They also carry a least concern conservation classification – yea!

Canvasback shot around Kentucky Dam April 2015

Only other tidbit is they got their name thanks to being the preferred seat covering for old Model T’s.  Luckily, modern society found the fine rich feeling Corinthian Leather (Ze Plane, Ze Plane! – for the record, if you get that reference you are old)….. What.. you want me to check the accuracy of that?  Hmmm… oh wait, my bad, they were given the Canvasback moniker from their preferred food during the nonbreeding season – the wild celery buds and rhizomes.  You know you preferred my definition better .. come on … there you go.  Just to prevent any future uncomfortable moments  (for you!), I probably wouldn’t base your entire theme or post graduate thesis on the contents of this blog.  Somewhere along the line information in my head may get slightly distorted.  My brother knows I blame my grade school for filling my head with lies (take for example the Brontasaurus and who knows what the hell Pluto is these days).

All I have for you today – hope you enjoyed this “purdy” duck.


2 comments on “Canvasing Kentucky

  1. Ron

    Hmm, I don’t have a Canvasback in my photo collection (or a Redhead for that matter). I fell for your story of the origin of the name, actually. I still don’t get how the name comes from wild celery buds and rhizomes, though.

    What is the advantage of red eyes among birds? Most have black, but there is a significant fraction that have bright red eyes. Is that better to see through water (did I read that somewhere??).

    One day, one day, the Brontosaurus will be resurrected among the dinosaurs and you will be at peace with your grade school teachers. And Pluto will return to its rightful place among the planets. And all will be well. But not in your lifetime.

    And finally, in a real puzzle, I did get the Fantasy Island reference, but I’m so young! Makes no sense.


  2. admin

    Hmmm, have I posted on the Redhead yet… was there foreshadowing there hehehe. Yeah, I have no idea how the name originated from their food, so I say we stick with my version and see how much penetration we can get. I have noticed of late the tremendous amount of red eyes as well – along with yellow eyes. Now idea if that gives an environmental or evolutionary advantage or not. We need to do some digging on that. I will personally hold a celebration if they bring back the Brontosaurus. My life has definitely been empty ever since losing that species in our history – a true travesty. I’ve about given up on Pluto There’s a better chance of it being given the name of a dog species before admitting their mistake and making it a planet again -the horror, the horror.

    Based on your admission on getting the reference – congratulations, you are officially OLD … but still younger than Grandpa Dan.

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