In the middle of last month I wandered aimlessly about the lake. Nothing particular drew me this way or that. I simply allowed my feet to carry me in whatever direction they wanted.
I eventually found myself adrift near the shore skirting the convergence of several inlets. The area was alive with a great deal of wildlife. Although I had no specific intent to photograph any of them, a group of male and female lesser scaups (Aythya affinis) eventually made their way to my position.
I had seen them before. In fact, I had seen them at many different times.
But I had never seen them at such close proximity. Normally my view of these ducks was from afar.
Not this time, however.
They paddled their way toward me—or at least toward my location—and hugged the shoreline the entire time.
I stood motionless and watched nonchalantly.
As they grew near enough for a close inspection of them, though, I realized with sudden clarity precisely where the inspiration for Daffy Duck had come from.
The more I looked at the scaups, the more I recognized my cartoon friend. He seemed especially evident in the shape of their heads.
My mind immediately wandered to childhood so many decades ago, to sitting in front of the television on Saturday mornings watching that poor fowl receive the short end of every stick he tried to pick up.
A giggle welled up within me and escaped my solemn lips before I even knew what had happened.
Closer still came the scaups, and with them approached a small band of American coots (Fulica americana). My snicker notwithstanding, they continued their trek as it carried them little more than an arm’s distance from me. Yet I never moved. I simply aimed the camera and pressed the button without really aiming. In fact, it was without much intent at all.
Still, I was happy to see I’d captured a few presentable shots of these unintentionally funny creatures along with their coot counterparts.
Much later—perhaps even days later—when I finally examined the images I’d captured, once again I found a chuckle climbing up within me as I sat and stared at the epitome of Daffy Duck. With their dark heads and bright eyes, the males truly did appear as though they had served as inspiration for Warner Brothers those many years ago.