Thursday, April 05, 2012

Buffleheads Up Close

After an incredible morning with the gobblers I wasn't expecting a close-up encounter with Bufflehead ducks Friday afternoon.  Not that I was surprised with finding the buffleheads on the lake; but rather thatI was surprised with them allowing me to approach closely.

In this first photo the buffleheads are attempting to evade my boat by doing their "sleeping duck" routine.  Notice the wake these "sleeping ducks" are pushing up; look closely to see the bright, wide-awake eyes watching me while they swim furiously.

 Giving up on the "sleeping duck" the buffleheads swim to stay ahead of the boat as I very slowly overtake them.
The males appear as simple black and white ducks until the sunlight hits there heads at the correct angle.  Following along with the camera trained on them, the trick was to anticipate the flash of iridescence. 

A close up shot of a male shows off his splendid iridescent colors

After a considerable time the buffleheads tired of the boat following them giving me the opportunity for a close up flight shot.

Not really scared they flew only a short distance before again landing on the lake surface.  Most ducks I encounter at this lake will not allow close-up photography.  Most days I am lucky if I can get within seventy-five yards however this small flock of buffleheads did not show fear of me or the boat and allowed me to work them for an extended period of time.  My guess is that they winter in a spot where there is no hunting.  Whatever the reason it is a special time encountering a flock that will allow close-up photography.


Alyssa Johnson said...

Wow, what a beautifil animal! I love the colors in their head feathers.

Ruth Hiebert said...

WOW!!! That male is stunning.I knew they had some iridescence,but not to this extent. Great photo.

Elaine said...

Wonderful series! I love the flight shot and those iridescent feathers!

Dina said...

Love those white heads. I've never seen these guys before. Beautiful shots.

Lindsjö taxar said...

Very beautiful pictures!! The turkeys are great, we don´t have them in our wildness. Only in farms.

Chris said...

Oh I'll sign now to see that one. One of them landed here in the south of Iceland but I missed it for two hours!!! Excellent close-up and beautiful shots!

Treea said...

I was just walking by Lake Shastina in N. California and saw many of these. a Google search brought me to your images. Thanks for the beautiful shots and now I know what to call them!