Project Chekov: Mallard

Today’s featured bird isn’t new to the blog due to the abundance of viewing opportunities we have in the Midwest (and honestly those previous shots of these birds are likely better than this new set but you have to go with what you have).  There probably isn’t a body of water of any size where you couldn’t find at least one of these birds hanging out along or paddling around.  To say they have North America covered when it comes to regions would be an understatement.  Yes, I’m referring to that common yet colorful duck called a Mallard (and yes, you get the head across the body shot)

The good news is the adult male birds (called Drakes) are super easy to identify.  Just look for the dull yellow bill attached to a iridescent green head.  If you are lucky you can also tell by the  iridescent purple blue speculum feathers – although according to Wikipedia they do molt those for a short period of time in the Summer.  Now the females are a completely different story.  As with many birds, the male displays the fancier coloring where the female remains in the more drab browns.  This makes it very difficult to distinguish from the other female species – reason why I always try to take shots of surrounding birds when it comes to females.

“Umm, excuse me, are you taking a picture of my ass?”

“Uh.. no I was shooting that little splashy thing over there, yeah, that splashy thing.”

Left the one above in here because it did show a little bit of the blue on the wings but mainly because it looks like it took a golf ball to the side of the head.  My guess is it was minding its own business simply crossing a fairway to bring nourishment to its family just as Linda was blasting a 5 wood out of the rough.  Pour duck, another victim of her golf game (Linda 2 – Innocent Waterfowl ZERO).

Hit the link to read a little more about these Drakes.

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A Long First Day in Paradise Comes to an End

Welcome to the latest offering from Life Intrigued.  I had quite the debate with myself on the topic for today’s post.  Should I go with a discussion on the results of a key bird hunt?  Maybe a summary of the various happenings while we were in Vegas (when you run a blog, there is no such thing as What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas – rather What Happens in Vegas is Another Post!).  I do have another book recollection to get to, but need to get the graphics ready for that first.  Why don’t I just close out the First Day at Henderson Series.  I promise I’ll give you a break for at least two posts before diving into day two.

To wrap things up, I’m going to throw you a hodge podge of birds.  None of these were firsts for me, but wanted to let you know that there was a nice collection of the more common birds to go along with all those new check marks.  First off is the Northern Shoveler.

To say there was a lot of these hanging out at Henderson would be an understatement.  There were actually more there than I’ve seen collectively at Havana’s Emiquon (link here).  What did catch my attention was they isolated themselves to a specific pond.  Not sure what the real attraction was, but it was one of two that had an island in the middle providing pretty good cover from the sun and Harriers circling the skies.  You almost got the sense they were keeping one eye on the water and one eye looking for danger.

Of course, they may have seen what happens when you venture too close to the shores (link here).  Fortunately, this didn’t prevent them from engaging in their unique feeding ritual.  This was observed at Havana, but only two or three of the Shovelers were involved and didn’t give the full effect.  At Henderson, they were in full whirlpool mode.

Reminds me when I was a kid and we would quickly traverse the outside edge of a neighbor’s pool to create a similar effect.  Of course, we were not doing that to make food more accessible (wow, the thought of a Baby Ruth just crossed my mind hehehe).

Although not completely positive thanks to the number of female breeds that look a like, I think the following shot is of a Shoveler coming in for a landing.  Both the water and wings were frozen in motion which is rather difficult to do with the Beast.  Our lighter 2.4 70-200 is more handy for those kind of shots being easier to hit the focus marks and most of all LIGHTER!!

Hit the jump to see more of the birds of Henderson

Continue reading A Long First Day in Paradise Comes to an End

These Mallards Play in Water

I figured I would go ahead and close out the Davenport Iowa bird shoot.  We’ve done the eagles, the gulls and now presenting..


That’s right, the Mallard Duck.  This guy was enjoying the 50 degree weather in march.  The shot turned out pretty good with the green shimmering nicely in the sun and you can even make out the water droplets on the duck’s feathers.  This was pretty fitting since the Quad Cities’ minor league hockey team is actually named The Mallards.  Here is another one with a different direction to the sun giving a slightly different shimmer pattern.

Mallard Duck

There were actually a number of them (can’t remember the proper term for a grouping of ducks at the moment).


Believe me, it was extremely tough to get them to all go in the same direction.  You also have a nice mixture of the females included in this shot – clearly they were stiffed when the coloring was handed out.

Follow the jump to see some more shots of the Mallard

Continue reading These Mallards Play in Water