It’s a while since I’ve visited Tullaroop Reservoir.
The weedy shallows at the northern end of the storage have a nice selection of waterbirds at present, including good number of Musk Ducks and Great Crested Grebes.
Musk Ducks are fascinating birds. Despite their apparently limited powers of flight they are capable of moving reasonable distances in search of suitable habitat and once a good location is found they’ll stay for many months if conditions remain to their liking.
They are carnivorous, feeding on aquatic invertebrates, including yabbies and mussels and will even take baby ducklings apparently. Diving for their prey they can remain under water for a number of minutes, surfacing at a different spot which might be 100 metres from where they originally dived. The male is unlike any other local duck, with a large, leathery lobe that hangs beneath the bill. Females lack this feature but share the stiff, spiky tail of the male. Blue-billed Ducks have a similar tail but the bill shape is quite different – the bill of the Musk Duck is somewhat triangular while Blue-billed Ducks have an elongated, concave bill.