In my continuing effort to reintroduce species previously seen, only this time as captured through the lens of my new camera, let me now share with you some photos of mallard ducks (Anas platyrhynchos). All of these photos were taken in the last week, including a few from this morning’s walk.
I watched three males quacking vigorously as they pursued a lone female. I ran along the shore trying to catch up with them, but their lead was too great and their course was away from me and the bank. So I stopped and zoomed in as quickly as possible only to have a common raven (Corvus corax) fly into the frame just as I snapped the photo. As luck would have it, he wound up blocking my view of the female, but you can still see part of her out in front of his blurry visage.
Also note—with some degree of entertainment—how the males are talking ad nauseam, no doubt trying to woo her with their manly charms. Considering she kept going and never paused for them, it seemed all three had failed to impress her.
This mated pair swam in amongst the American coots (Fulica americana) mingling at the shore. While they ate and dawdled, the female mallard bathed zealously as the male floated quietly to the side. If you look at the larger versions of that photo, you’ll see she’s covered in water droplets. Nevertheless, I find this image fascinating because the male on the left appears to be generating a marvelous circular pattern of ripples. And he was sitting still!
That’s a closeup of the same male. The water all over his head came from his mate’s splashing.
I thought I had the perfect image when I focused on this male. He floated near shore and seemed intent on relaxing, basically staying out of the way of all the other waterfowl scurrying about. Yet just as I pressed the button, he cocked his head and looked up. It made for an even better scene than I had anticipated.
This is just gratuitous mallard butt. Okay, not so much.
This guy stood on shore preening after a rather excited bath. I found the fan-like splay of his tail feathers to be worthy of note, not to mention the way morning light dappled through nearby trees and danced on the iridescent feathers covering his head.
The larger versions of that one are really impressive, including the broken egg to his left—half-eaten breakfast abandoned by some ring-billed gulls (Larus delawarensis) when the duck came ashore.