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Inspiring and Supporting Photographers of Australian Birds

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Musk Duck

Musk Duck (Image ID 45540)
Photographed byMichael Hamel-Green on Sun 28th Mar, 2021 and uploaded on Wed 31st Mar, 2021 .
Resolution1400x747
Viewed116
ID45540
CommentVisiting Werribee Treatment Plant with a far more experienced (lifelong) bird-watching friend, I yet again appreciated how easily a less experienced person can entirely miss out on seeing a particular bird species. He pointed to a stretch of water on Borrie Lake and said “Musk Duck”. I looked where he indicated and there was nothing to see. Of course Musk Ducks are known for their capacity and propensity for spending a great deal of time under the water rather than dabbling around on top like more conventional ducks. No doubt they have to swerve occasionally to avoid collisions with cormorant fellow submariners. Even when surfacing, they travel very low in the water, just like a submarine. After looking at the indicated stretch of water for what seemed an extraordinary long time, suddenly up popped this prehistoric looking creature, with its speckled black body and head, and leathery looking jet black flap under its bill. The flap distinguishes it as a male. This was the first time I had seen a musk duck, despite several previous visits to Werribee. Not knowing about their submarining habits, I would cast my eye over the waters and not even know they were there. So much to learn for novice birdwatchers! And apparently they are very prehistoric in their ancestry, being the sole living member of the Biziura genus, whose other species are now extinct. And why is it called a musk duck? Apparently for its musky odour during breeding seasons, but that was something I did not experience. Musk breeding season (July to January) is well and truly over, and, in any case, in this sewerage plant location, muskiness might struggle to be sniffed through the prevailing whiffy zephyrs.
EquipmentNikonZ7ii Nikon 300mm f4 PF TC1.4 420mm ISO 1000 1/2000th f7.1 Monopod
LocationLake Borrie, , Werribee Treatment Plant, Victoria
Keywordsmale, adult
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