Now that spring is here and the frigid winter is behind us, it is time to photograph waterfowl. Typically, by the end of March the lakes in my "neck of the woods" have thawed. This year is a whole lot different. The record setting lows of January and February froze the lakes even deeper than normal. Today is March 24th and the ice of Moraine State Park's Lake Arthur is still touching the shores.
The ice is thinner at the shoreline so a few days of warmer weather and sunshine should open it up enough to look inviting to waterfowl.
Many smaller, shallow coves have opened up and in a week or so should be full of diving ducks like Grebes and Ruddy Duck. American Coot, Canada Geese, Great Blue Heron, and Mallards will populate the area too.
So far this year, my only waterfowl photo opportunities were in a small section of water at Pymatuning State Park, near an overpass, that is usually the first part of the lake to thaw. It's not a place you would use a blind because it is fairly popular to people wanting to see and/or photograph the waterfowl. Plus, people tired of fishing through a little hole all winter rush to this spot. So, if you get there early enough and sit still, the waterfowl will meander around and go about their business.
All the photos in this photo blog post were made at Pymatuning. I hope you enjoy the beautiful colors and patterns of spring waterfowl.
This is my first close photo of an American Wigeon (Drake).
Common Merganser drake coming up from a dive. The water runs off their feathers like a newly waxed car.
Common Merganser pair. The hen on the left and the drake taking a nap.
Common Merganser drake drying off.
Pair of beautiful Redheads.
Redhead drake lift off.
Another Redhead drake displaying his wingspan.
Well, if your still with me that means you enjoy photos of ducks. I'm happy you're still here.
Below is a Ring-necked Duck drake.
When the Ring-necked Duck extends his neck and the light is right, you can see the ring for which it was named.
Ring-necked Duck drake cleared for landing.
It is springtime and the reason we see all these beautiful colors is to impresses the ladies. Below is a Ring-necked Duck hen.
Next is the stunning beauty of the Common Goldeneye hen.
Common Goldeneyes (hen and drake) are sometimes referred to as "whistlers" because the wind whistles through their wings when they fly.
Red-breasted Mergansers are usually seen way out in the lake in large flocks. Because of the ice, I was able to see a few up close.
This photo isn't tack sharp but I find it comical how the Red-breasted Merganser runs across the water upon takeoff.
It is tough to identify the Scaup. Is it Lesser or Greater? Well, one of the identifying marks of the Lesser is the peaked head such as the one on the head of this Lesser Scaup hen.
Here is a Greater Scaup drake identified by the rounded, iridescent, dark green head.
And finally, we come to the Canvasback. Most male ducks have colorful backs but the back of the Canvasback looks like somebody draped a white canvas over him. The Canvasback has a noble image. Its long sloping forehead extending into the long bill makes it distinguishable from great distances.
Canvasback drake rising up and flapping his wings.
The photo below is a female Canvasback.
Thanks for sticking with me through this post. It was photo overload but you obviously enjoy ducks. To see more waterfowl images check out my waterfowl gallery.
This isn't the end of waterfowl photography. Stay tuned.
Thanks for looking,