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Beautiful birds! The male all green and tan and mahogany-maroon and crimson; the female shades of brown, like old fallen leaves, with chevrons of green on her wings. (A coloration that makes sense if females spend more time on the nest, and benefit more from camouflage? Whereas the males, as usual, dress to impress.) Saw them while approaching a pond in town; a pair of mallards flew off, but these remained and stepped ashore into the woods. With any luck they're nesting their and I'll see them again.
(Wikipedia) Wooded swamps, shallow lakes, marshes or ponds, and creeks throughout eastern North America and the west coast.
John James Audubon: "The flight of this species is remarkable for its speed, and the ease and elegance with which it is performed. [...] while removing from some secluded haunt to its breeding-grounds, at the approach of night, it shoots over the trees like a meteor, scarcely emitting any sound from its wings." http://books.google.com/books?id=UudPAAA... History of its recovery: http://books.google.com/books?id=51-Ehyd...