After searching through a ton of Black Ducks over the years, I finally found and documented this male Mottled Duck, a first for TN. It was feeding late one evening in a remote pool at Ensley Bottoms and was seen and photographed again a couple of days later by Mike Todd and Don Manning. Since this bird, I've photographed 4 others in the state including a pair at Ensley and Mike Todd photographed a pair in Eagle Creek near Paris Landing. "Seek and yee shall find."
While scanning through some feeding ducks, I ran across a dark individual and when I put the scope on it, I immediately thought Mottled Duck. I was losing light but managed to get photos of the bird. The bird had the black mark at the gape of its bright yellow bill, and unmarked cheeks, chin and throat, a restricted dark crown and wide buff edging to the rest of the body feathers. When the bird preened it showed a white edging to the speculum. It was a very dark individual and most likely of the race maculosa found in Texas and Mexico. Most field guides show the eastern race that is found in Florida and the upper Gulf Coast which is considerably lighter than this bird. Photo here: http://www.pbase.com/ol_coot/image/33128516 On October 4, 2003, I located this adult male (note bright yellow bill with diagnostic dark spot on base of bill) Mottled Duck in the pits at Ensley Bottoms. The bird was present for at least 3 days. I have heard of Mottled Ducks being reportedly shot by hunters in TN but I have never been able to hunt a bird or carcass down to confirm. I believe this might be the first photographed in TN. Mottled Ducks have been seen as far north as North Dakota and we started finding and IDing them in Arkansas in 1995.
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