Finding Open Water

March 24, 2015  •  3 Comments

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.

Lake Arthur, South ShoreLake Arthur, South ShoreMoraine State Park, Portersville, PA

 

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.

Lake Arthur, South ShoreLake Arthur, South ShoreMoraine State Park, Portersville, PA

 

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.

Lake Arthur, South ShoreLake Arthur, South ShoreMoraine State Park, Portersville, PA

 

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).

American WigeonAmerican WigeonMale

 

Common Merganser drake coming up from a dive.  The water runs off their feathers like a newly waxed car.

Common MerganserCommon MerganserMale coming up from a dive

 

Common Merganser pair.  The hen on the left and the drake taking a nap.

Common MerganserCommon MerganserFemale - Male

 

Common Merganser drake drying off.

Common MerganserCommon MerganserMale

 

Pair of beautiful Redheads.

RedheadRedheadMale - Female

 

Redhead drake lift off.

RedheadRedheadMale

 

Redhead drake.

RedheadRedheadMale

 

Another Redhead drake displaying his wingspan.

RedheadRedheadMale

 

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.

Ring-necked DuckRing-necked DuckMale

 

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 DuckRing-necked DuckMale

 

Ring-necked Duck drake cleared for landing.

Ring-necked DuckRing-necked DuckMale

 

It is springtime and the reason we see all these beautiful colors is to impresses the ladies.  Below is a Ring-necked Duck hen.

Ring-necked DuckRing-necked DuckFemale

 

 

Next is the stunning beauty of the Common Goldeneye hen.

Common GoldeneyeCommon GoldeneyeFemale

 

Common Goldeneyes (hen and drake) are sometimes referred to as "whistlers" because the wind whistles through their wings when they fly.

Common GoldeneyeCommon GoldeneyeFemale - Male

 

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. 

Red-breasted MerganserRed-breasted MerganserFemale

 

This photo isn't tack sharp but I find it comical how the Red-breasted Merganser runs across the water upon takeoff.

Red-breasted MerganserRed-breasted MerganserFemale

 

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.

Lesser ScaupLesser ScaupFemale

 

Here is a Greater Scaup drake identified by the rounded, iridescent, dark green head.

Greater ScaupGreater ScaupMale

 

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.

CanvasbackCanvasbackMale

 

Canvasback drake rising up and flapping his wings.

CanvasbackCanvasbackMale

 

The photo below is a female Canvasback.

CanvasbackCanvasbackFemale

 

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,

Dan

 
 

Comments

Linda Goldsmith(non-registered)
Amazing photography Dan. You have an artist's eye for capturing the gifts of nature.
Willard Hill(non-registered)
Superb images as always, Dan. I really enjoy the duck photographs. This was something I really missed at Middle Creek this year as there was still too much ice there during most of my trip for good duck photography.
Eve D(non-registered)
Enjoyed all as usual, Dan. Please keep on sending.
No comments posted.
Loading...

Archive
January February (1) March (1) April May June (1) July August (1) September October November December (1)
January February March April May June July August September October November December
January February March April May June (3) July (5) August (5) September (1) October November (1) December
January (1) February March April May June (4) July August September October (1) November (2) December (1)
January February March April May June (1) July (1) August September October November December