Sunday, March 01, 2009

Saturday Morning’s Ring-necked Duck

With the weather forecast calling for partly cloudy morning skies Saturday I set my alarm for 5:30 am in anticipation of a good morning in a local wetland. When I stepped out on our deck in the morning I was greeted by a sky full of stars so with much anticipation I loaded the gear in my truck and headed off.

As the first light of day began to brighten the landscape I arrived at the wetland only to notice the sky was now covered with heavy gray clouds. While walking in, ducks and geese flushed from the cold waters disappearing like wisp in the predawn darkness, but still the calling of more geese and ducks filled the air.

Upon arriving at my previously chosen spot I erected my little pop-up blind and settled in for the morning. As I opened the window a mink ran across the dike some 50 yards away. Although mink inhabit this area their nocturnal habits usually keep them well hidden from human eyes.

Photographic light was slow in arriving and the waterfowl present showed considerable concern about approaching the area around my blind but with all of these factors against me this pretty Ring-necked drake finally appeared and swam into camera range. Because of the low light levels I was forced to make this shot using ISO 1600 which degraded the image quality considerably while at the same time capturing the colors or lack thereof of a drab late winter morning.

Ring-necked ducks do not frequent our area and when I do encounter them it is always in late winter or very early spring. Audubon’s Field Guide to North American Birds does not show my area as part of the ring-necked duck’s range but never the less a few do appear from time to time. Encountering both the Mink and the Ring-necked duck made this a wetlands morning to be remembered.


Kim said...

What a beautiful duck! I really enjoyed listening to how you took the photo. We too suffered from the gray overcast weather first thing Saturday morning and all of my photos came out lousy. I try and play with my ISO settings but all of my pictures come out lousy. I think I need a tripod to get those right when using ISO. Despite your adverse environmental conditions, I thought the photo came out wonderful!

You are the second blogger who has written about using a bird blind. I am going to have to get one as I like to spend some time in one spot in the woods, fields, etc. to get my photos. The only problem is that the birds can see me. ;o)

Shelley said...

What a great surprise to encounter this duck and a lovely shot to show it off!

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

A great shot Coy. Those minks are beatuful cratures but I hear they can be quite vicious.

Chris said...

Hi Coy,
Woow wonderful. I've been trying to see it here but they are only rarely spotted. There are two at the moment, and I missed them apparently... Wonderful duck and nice picture...

Leedra said...

A treat to get to see the Ring Necked since it is not normally there. Great capture.

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photowannabe said...

I love the way you captured the wake behing the duck. its almost like he has white wings. Its exciting that you were able to see the mink in the early morning.

Meggie said...

I didn't realize a "ring neck" was a type of duck. I merely referred to male mallards as such. You are always teaching me something, Salty. What a serene photo!

Craig Glenn said...

Great shot and very interesting story to go with it. I really enjoy your adventures!