American Coots, Green Island Wetlands, Mississippi River, Iowa

After not making a single click in over a week for several reasons I finally went out to the Green Island Wetlands yesterday evening. The water level of the Mississippi River is still rising and also in the Green Island area it is above normal.

It was windy and many of the ducks were hiding or at least not near the shore. Every year I have seen a large fleet of American Coots at this time of the year and I always was debating with myself how to make a picture that tells the story about their presence in large numbers. Quite often the raft of coots is stretched out and it is impossible to make this kind of a photo. This time was different and they did me a great favor. While I watched them through the binoculars in the distance, the whole fleet suddenly swam towards me and didn’t stop until they all were near my “mobile blind”, the car of course.

They were feeding and goofed around like coots do. Coots are kleptoparasitic, they’ll steal their meal from other birds if they don’t feel like hunting for their own food (source: iBirdPro app). Indeed, I have seen them arguing about water plants. Maybe that’s why it is always fun to watch this raucous and quarrelsome bird.