Although a bit nippy in the shade, it was quite pleasant in the sun (as evidenced by the thermometer hanging on the window - yes, you read it correctly - 80+ degrees in the sun). A perfect day to grill out - grass fed beef and Alaskan salmon. Unfortunately all of our homegrown potatoes are long gone, so we settled for organic Brussels sprouts from the market (my mother's request).
After dinner, we took a sunset hike with Maggie along Isthmus Beach and the South lagoon. This is one of the prettiest but less discovered hikes around. It's one of those hikes that gets 10 stars for pleasure but only one star for effort. We were on the lookout for otters as just yesterday Doug spotted an otter eating clams near its den. We were entertained by hundreds of ducks. The two most common in the lagoon were Northern Pintails and Goldeneyes. Now, if you are like me, a duck is a duck - right? Not so. As I was informed by the resident VMD, there are two major categories of ducks - Dabbling Ducks and Diving Ducks. Dabbling ducks are found mainly on smaller ponds and marshes in shallow water. They feed at the surface by dabbling their bills in the water or by upending to reach deeper (I love when their duck tails stick out of the water!). Their legs are placed farther forward on the body so that walking is easier, and they are able to take off directly from the water without running. The Northern Pintails are dabbling ducks. Diving ducks on the other hand are generally found in deeper water and feed by diving underwater. Their legs are placed far back on the body making walking difficult, and most require a running start to take off from the water. The Goldeneyes are diving ducks. It should be noted however that dabbling ducks can dive and diving ducks can dabble if necessary. Now you know. You can learn more about these beautiful ducks at http://www.birds-of-north-america.net/.