It’s been a good winter for seeing Bufflehead Ducks here. Sorties of them regularly fly just above the surface of Great Cove in high-speed, close-order formations.
They get their names from the shape of their heads (especially the males’ heads), which look like the heads of American Buffalo (technically, Bison). The males are mostly white with a black head on which it looks like a double scoop of vanilla ice cream has been dropped:
The females are darker overall with a dab of that ice cream on their cheeks.
Buffleheads are the smallest diving ducks in North America, seldom larger than 15 inches in length. They eat crabs, clams, and water vegetation in winter and (unusually) nest in abandoned cavities of large woodpeckers.