Along with the Lyman Lake New Year’s Day Hooded Merganser, I found this American Coot. Coots are North America’s most abundant and widely distributed rail. This species enjoys a wide range of habitat—“including freshwater lakes, ponds, marshes, roadside ditches, and industrial-waste impoundments, as well as in coastal marine” areas (Brisbin et al. 2002). In the winter, they are often found in large flocks. Coots are herbivores. This coot was pulling up and eating aquatic vegetation. They usually forage under water, but also eat grains, grasses and crops on land.
I am surprised at this coot’s color. I usually think of these birds as being black or flat-gray. This individual is practically iridescent.