Thursday, October 7, 2010

Diving Ducks

Ducks are sometimes challenging to photograph. First, is finding the intended species.  Most ducks migrate so time of year is often important. Your choice of lakes is also important since some lakes draw a wider variety of waterfowl than others. Usually you don't know exactly what you will find. You may have a good idea that Mallards or Northern Shovelers will be around. But, even if you find them, getting close is somewhat problematic since they are in water and you are on land. If you are in a public park then it is a little easier because the ducks may be more accustomed to people and may in fact come closer to the water's edge. But in the more remote areas there are other problems. Ducks don't always sit calmly for a good profile photo. You want them to be close and in the right direction -- as opposed to swimming away from you and just showing you their "rear-end." Lighting, is a whole other issue itself, unless you just want silhouettes. With Dabbling Ducks you often just see the tail because the head is underwater. With Diving Ducks you might take a photo only to realize once you get home that all that's in your photo is a splash of water where the duck was. 

Diving ducks are different from dabbling ducks in that they -- you guessed it -- dive for their food. Diving ducks swim underwater to feed on aquatic vegetation, insects, and occasionally small fish. They can dive deeply and are strong swimmers so they dive for protection from predators as well as for food. Unlike dabbling ducks, they are very awkward on land. Diving ducks are found most often on large bodies of water such as lakes, bays, and estuaries. All of my Diving Ducks can be found throughout the United States at various times of the year. Here are my photos of Diving Ducks:

Barrow's Goldeneye
photo taken at Lake Chopaka, Northcentral Washington

Common Goldeneye
photo taken too long ago to remember exactly -- somewhere in British Columbia

photo taken at Davis Lake, Oregon

photo taken at Potholes, Central Washington

Lesser Scaup
photo taken at Agua Caliente, Arizona

Redhead Duck
photo taken at Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge, California

Ring Necked Duck
photo taken at Agua Caliente, Arizona

Ruddy Duck
photo taken at Sweetwater Wetlands, Arizona

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