I went down to the river this morning to feed the geese and ducks crushed pretzels. As soon as I got to the goose-zone, I saw this ugly-ass thing.
At first, when it was far away, I thought that maybe it was maybe the result of a Canada Goose interbreeding with one of the feral domestic ones. When I saw the red lumpy flesh on its face I wondered if it was diseased. After I got a really good look (it stood a few feet away for quite a while as it chomped pretzels), I assumed it was some kind of weird goose breed I wasn't familiar with. I planned on posting the image here and up at Flickr to see if anyone knew what the hell it was. (Maybe professional anthropologist and amateur ornithologist, Dr. X would come through with another bird identification.)
After I got home, a little searching among water fowl breeds at Wikipedia (oh, what would I do without you, Wikipedia?) told me it was actually a breed of duck. To be more specific, it's a Muscovy Duck, a big duck that's native to Mexico, Central, and South America. There's feral populations in Florida and Texas. So what's it doing in Virginia?
They're also kind of mean. It totally kicked a big male goose's ass while I stood there happily shooting pictures.