I've wanted to get close to Canvasback Ducks without any success for some time, and that all changed at my first stop where the ducks were very close. The eyes capture my attention.
I've photographed the American Wigeon before, but I am always discovering new ways to love this dainty little duck. Note the beautiful feather details along the back and the neck patterning.
Another duck that is in some ways similar to the Canvasback is the Redhead. Beautiful plumage, brilliant eyes and a distinctive blue and black bill.
None of the above ducks were plentiful, but the Lesser Scaup was almost as commonplace as the Mallard is in all places. The difficulty was in finding a single example that was alone, but this one finally came looking at me. Again I love the eyes.
All of the above were photographed while out in a strong wind at freezing temperatures, but I was lost in the moment and only realized my hands were very cold after an hour. It was worth the discomfort. The cold finally won the day, and we headed for out night's lodging.
A day later, I was shooting from a car and had some protection from the cold except for my left hand that was outside the window. The skittish ducks are more comfortable around a vehicle, and this allowed me to get my very first images of a long wished for subject- a male Hooded Merganser displaying to a female.
There is more to the story about Hooded Mergansers, but I will save that for a later post.
Last year, I finally got good images of the stylish Pintail Duck, but I still wanted more. On the last evening as the sun set, this pair came screeching in to a protective marsh area.
I'll share more photos as I have time.