Tag Archives: mallard duck

November 15, 2016 Bosque del Apache NWR, New Mexico

Sunrise Silouettes

Sunrise Silouettes

A Busy Week at Bosque del Apache

Pintail Landing

Pintail Landing

Ducks

The number of ducks here now is staggering. Late in the day, I park along the road at the start of the South Loop and wait for the ducks to fly in to roost in the shallows there.

Mallard Drake in Flight

Mallard Drake in Flight

Pintail in Flight

Pintail in Flight

Have to be thousands of Pintails here, along with …

Wigeons in Flight

Wigeons in Flight

… a smattering of Wigeons …

Mallards in Flight

Mallards in Flight

Mallard Drake in Flight

Mallard Drake in Flight

… and all kinds of Mallards.

Sunrise Silouettes

Sunrise Silouettes

This shot is taken at sunrise at a point farther along the South Loop Road in a waterway that was dry until just a week ago when they opened the floodgates for this section of the refuge.

Female Northern Harrier

Female Northern Harrier

I see Northern Harriers swooping over the meadows here almost every day when driving the refuge roads, but seldom encounter one when set up to take photos. Waiting for the ducks to come in one day, this female came flying by close enough to get a decent shot.

Snow Geese

Snow Goose Landing

Snow Goose Landing

The snow geese have really been streaming into the refuge this week. Being here a little early this time around, I can take advantage of the fall colors for some interesting backgrounds for these flight shots.

Snow Geese, White and Dark Morph

Snow Geese, White and Dark Morph

Snow Geese Landing

Snow Geese Landing

Snow Goose Landing

Snow Goose Landing

The crowded conditions on the night roosting shallows make for some tight landing spots …

Snow Goose Landing

Snow Goose Landing

… as this duck found out.

Snow Geese Splashdown

Snow Geese Splashdown

Snow Goose Splashdown

Snow Goose Splashdown

All these snow goose landings were shot just as the sun was setting over my shoulder, as all the ducks and geese were flying in for the night. This evening there were thousands of birds in this flooded field, yet two days later, they had found another, apparently better spot to roost for the night and this area was all but empty.

Sandhill Cranes

Leucistic Sandhill Landing

Leucistic Sandhill Landing

After almost two weeks without a sighting of the leucistic Sandhill Crane, I finally ran into him again, and this time he came in close.

Leucistic Sandhill Crane

Leucistic Sandhill Crane

At present there are about 2,000 cranes on the refuge, and that will soon balloon up to around 15,000, so finding this one rarity is kind of like finding a needle in a haystack, so today I consider myself quite fortunate to get a second chance at him. This shot was taken just as the warm sun popped up over the trees …

Leucistic Sandhill Crane

Leucistic Sandhill Crane

… and this one was taken just a few minutes before, with no sun yet.

Greater and Lesser Sandhill Cranes

Greater and Lesser Sandhill Cranes

The image above gives a good comparison of the size differential of the Lesser and Greater Sandhill Cranes.

Sandhills Prepare for Takeoff

Sandhills Prepare for Takeoff

Sandhills Takeoff

Sandhills Takeoff

Sunrise takeoffs from the overnight roosting ponds along the highway are getting to be a little uncomfortable ( for this photographer, can’t speak for the cranes ) with overnight temps now dipping below freezing, although the days remain comfortably warm in the 60’s.

Sandhills Liftoff

Sandhills Liftoff

Sandhills Race Down the Runway

Sandhills Race Down the Runway

Sandhills Leaving the Roost

Sandhills Leaving the Roost

Sandhill Takeoff

Sandhill Takeoff

Sandhills on the Runway

Sandhills on the Runway

Later morning Sandhill activity, as in 7 or 8 AM, has moved out to the Willow and Coyote Platform fields this week and finally we are seeing a stepup in activity in the farm fields.

Sandhill Greeting Calls

Sandhill Greeting Calls

Sandhills Greeting

Sandhills Greeting

Lots of calling and greeting going on. The sounds out here are really pretty amazing.

Sandhills Greeting

Sandhills Greeting

Sandhill Takeoff

Sandhill Takeoff

Sandhill Gliding Down

Sandhill Gliding Down

Sandhills landing

Sandhills landing

The Festival of the Cranes runs from the 15th to the 22nd and this brings in a crush of folks and will probably result in my not spending as much time shooting as I would like, but the place tends to empty out again after the festival, even as  the bird numbers continue to grow when the people leave. Should be more great shooting to come.

Thank you for shopping Amazon from my site!

When you click through to shop Amazon from here, I get a tiny commission, one that does not in any way impact what you pay, and all those tiny commissions eventually add up and that helps me keep this blog going !


 

November 9, 2016 Bosque del Apache NWR, New Mexico

The Snow Geese Have Arrived

The Snow Geese Have Arrived

Week Two at Bosque del Apache NWR

As you can see from the above image, the snow geese have arrived in numbers this week. Nothing like it should be in a few more weeks, but two large flocks flew in during the week and joined forces once here, gathering along the South Loop Road in the evening and moving over towards the flight deck in the morning.

Snow Geese

Snow Geese

Snow Goose

Snow Goose

Snow Geese

Snow Geese

Mallards in Flight

Mallards in Flight

Meanwhile the number of ducks here is astounding! Probably thousands of Pintails, along with hundreds of Mallards and Widgeons, with smaller numbers of Teal and others.

Pintails in Flight

Pintails in Flight

Pintails in Flight

Pintails in Flight

An Extremely Light Colored Sandhill Crane

An Extremely Light Colored Sandhill Crane

Sandhill Crane numbers grow daily, but at this time they are gathering and feeding in refuge fields that are pretty much inaccessible  for close photography.

Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill Crane Landing

Sandhill Crane Landing

Most of these images were taken from a pretty good distance near the Willow Deck on the North Loop. The distance forces me to add a 1.4 extender to my 600mm lens to get any kind of close image.

Sandhill Cranes on the Runway

Sandhill Cranes on the Runway

Sandhill Cranes About to Liftoff

Sandhill Cranes About to Liftoff

Sandhill Cranes Liftoff

Sandhill Cranes Liftoff

This week the staff made the first couple of row cuts on the North Loop farm fields, but I have yet to see any of the cranes really rushing to get out there to feed. These farm fields are right next to the road and do allow for some close shots of the feeding cranes and geese, but apparently it is going to take some more time before the birds decide they need to venture out there.

Sandhill Crane Takeoff

Sandhill Crane Takeoff

Sandhill Crane

Sandhill Crane

There are now several hundred cranes roosting at night along the ponds on the side of the highway, providing an opportunity for early morning takeoff shots, when, and if, the clouds don’t block out the rising sun.

Sandhill Crane

Sandhill Crane

So far this year, most mornings there are clouds blocking the light from the sun until after the cranes have flown off to the distant fields to forage for the day. Eventually there will be some nice chances at these ponds to catch some nice takeoff shots.

After twice encountering the lone leucistic Sandhill Crane during my first week here, I have not had any luck finding him lately, although I have heard reports of others seeing him, so he must still be around, hope to get an opportunity to get some nice shots of this rarity before I leave !

Thank you for shopping Amazon from my site!

When you click through to shop Amazon from here, I get a tiny commission, one that does not in any way impact what you pay, and all those tiny commissions eventually add up and that helps me keep this blog going !


 

April 28, 2015, Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, Oregon

Gadwall Takeoff

Gadwall Takeoff

Yet Another Interesting Day at Malheur

Every day, when I leave home in the morning, I never know what I am going to find here at Malheur. Today was no exception.

As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.

Cattle Drive

Cattle Drive

I had decided to drive the Diamond Loop and check out the Peter French Round Barn and, on the drive there,  found myself face to face with about 100 head of cattle, being driven down the highway, as I was later told, a fairly common practice here.

Cattle Drive

Cattle Drive

No vehicle out in front on them to give oncoming motorists warning, I just came around a fairly sharp corner on a 65 mph road and there they were. A local person soon pulled up behind me and explained that the correct thing to do in this event is not to stop, as I did, but to simply proceed through them …  carefully and at a slow speed. They will make way for you, he assured me. And, of course, they did as he said they would and soon I came to the end of the herd and three real life cowboys that were driving them along ( the third cowboy had just cut off to the right to drive a stray back to the herd ).

Cattle Drive

Cattle Drive

All’s well that ends well !

Bing Mapper

Bing Mapper

Only a half mile down the road behind the cattle drive, I saw this fellow stopped in the road. After zipping by him, my curiosity got the better of me and I turned around and went back to ask a few questions.

Bing Mapper

Bing Mapper

This is Bing’s answer to Google Earth. The driver/operator of this vehicle was kind enough to show me the equipment used, camera, 10 TB hard drive, GPS, etc., and explained the process of collecting all the data. I asked if I went on Bing and highlighted this stretch of road, then hit their ” street view “, would I see images of him stuck in the middle of the cattle drive, and he assured me that, yes, I would. Just need to wait a couple months for all these new images to be upload, he said. Over the next two days, I saw two more of these Bing cars during my travels around Malheur and Burns.

Palomino

Palomino

Caught this beautiful creature gracefully trotting down a hill to a water hole by the side of the road.

Mallard Drake

Mallard Drake

I know, it’s only a mallard.

Mallard Splashdown

Mallard Splashdown

I liked the refection of this Northern Shoveler as he splashed down, something I had never caught before.

Gadwall Takeoff

Gadwall Takeoff

Gadwall Takeoff

Gadwall Takeoff

These two images show the takeoff sequence of a male gadwall. Notice how hard his wings drive down in the water to provide his initial lift. The second image of him in flight is about as good a shot of this type as I have been able to get to date, at least. The focusing system of my camera always has a very difficult time isolating the bird from the busy background of reeds and most images like this are always rendered out of focus.

Love Them Lips, Ruddy Duck

Love Them Lips, Ruddy Duck

Gotta love them lips, looks like he is puckering up to give his honey a big old wet one ! During mating season, the Ruddy duck’s bill turns this bright shade of blue to help make him irresistable to the ladies.

Ruddy Duck

Ruddy Duck

Teaching the Kids How to Hide

Teaching the Kids How to Hide

I always get a kick out of Canadian Geese dropping their necks to the water to ” hide ” themselves to me as I pass by.

Teaching the Kids How to Hide

Teaching the Kids How to Hide

These parents were doing a good job of showing their kids how to hide from dangerous photographers, but the little ones don’t seem to have caught on to the neck flattening thing.

Unescorted Ducklings

Unescorted Ducklings

The goslings are the first to hatch and the ducklings follow a week or two later in the spring. These are the first ducklings I have seen this year. These ten ducklings are only about half of this group, that must consist of the offspring of more than one set of parents. They were quickly trying to get themselves concealed from me by heading behind a dense bunch of willows growing on the water’s edge. It seemed odd that I never saw any parent’s anywhere near these cute little guys.

Old Dump Truck

Old Dump Truck

Old Dump Truck Detail

Old Dump Truck Detail

In the afternoon I drove back north towards Burns to check on the fields south of town. I happened upon this old dump truck on the way. Nice watercolr subject, when, and if, I ever get the brushes out again.

Black-necked Stilt

Black-necked Stilt

A Black-necked Stilt searching for morsels among the submerged grasses of a cow pasture.

Meadowlark

Meadowlark

 

Meadowlark

Meadowlark

Meadowlark

Meadowlark

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It truly is starting to look like spring as there are now all kinds of songbirds singing their hearts out along the road.

Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow

Barn Swallows

Barn Swallows

Not often I find these guys so easy to capture.

Red-winged Blackbird

Red-winged Blackbird

Robin

Robin

Yellow-headed Blackbirds

Yellow-headed Blackbirds

Yellow-headed Blackbirds

Yellow-headed Blackbirds

The Yellow-headed Blackbirds have arrived in clouds the past few days and sometimes you may see as many as a hundred of them perched on the fences here along Hotchkiss and Greenhouse Lanes.

Yellow-headed Blackbird

Yellow-headed Blackbird

Yellow-headed Blackbird

Yellow-headed Blackbird

This one was really getting into it, belting out his melody.

So, Spring has definitely sprung, and much as I am enjoying my time her at Malheur, I really do have to think about leaving and getting on my way north to Alaska.

Thank you for shopping Amazon from my site!

When you click through to shop Amazon from here, I get a tiny commission, one that does not in any way impact what you pay, and all those tiny commissions eventually add up and that helps me keep this blog going !


 

April 17, 2015 Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, Oregon

Ring-necked Pheasant

Ring-necked Pheasant

Yesterday I left Winnemucca about 10 AM after visiting WalMart looking for RV antifreeze ( I want to be prepared next time ), of course, this particular store didn’t have any, and then filling both gas and propane tanks at the Flying J across the road. Drove about 180 miles of very straight, flat, boring high desert terrain north on Route 95, then north on Route 78 to the Malheur NWR. Turning off Route 78 onto Lava Bed Road, I travelled a few miles and came to a sudden fork in the road with a tiny sign pointing right to the refuge that I didn’t see until too late, so ended up driving an extra 20 miles as I looped south on what turned out to be the Diamond Loop, and that eventually got me to Route 205, where I turned north and pulled into the Narrows RV Park around 4 PM.

As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.

Narrows RV Park

Narrows RV Park

The Narrows RV Park is directly on Route 205 and has about 40 spaces, both pull through and backin and really worked out to be a convenient place to stay. Full hookups with 30 or 50 amp electric with flat , pea stone sites, as usual much too close together.

Narrows RV Park

Narrows RV Park

During my stay there were only 5 or 6 other folks here so the closeness wasn’t a problem. I paid their $157 weekly rate so that came to $ 22.50/night, a good deal for a well kept park with friendly, helpful owners.

Malhuer NWR

Male Northern Harrier

Male Northern Harrier

Malheur is a very large refuge with a wide variety of reasons to come here and shoot wildlife. I may as well start off with my first wonderful discovery here, this appears to be the home of all of North Americas male Northern Harriers. 🙂  This has been one of the most elusive birds on my must photograph list.

Male Northern Harrier

Male Northern Harrier

Male Northern Harrier

Male Northern Harrier

 

 

 

 

 

 

I swear that I have seen a hundred female Harriers for every one male Harrier pretty much everywhere I have been. Never have understood how that works. But here at Malhuer I am seeing many more males than females, and finally am having opportunities to capture a decent image of the ” Gray Ghost “.

Male Northern Harrier

Male Northern Harrier

Ring-necked Pheasant

Ring-necked Pheasant

And then there is another of my favorite subjects here in abundance, the brilliantly colored Ring-necked Pheasant.

Ring-necked Pheasant Pair

Ring-necked Pheasant Pair

Ring-necked Pheasant

Ring-necked Pheasant

Today I drove the length of the center refuge road all the way south to Frenchglen and these guys were all over the open meadows along this washboardy gravel road.

Malhuer NWR Sandhill Cranes

Malhuer NWR Sandhill Cranes

There were a few pairs of Sandhill Cranes present feeding …

Sandhill Cranes preflight routine

Sandhill Cranes preflight routine

.. and then going through their weird pre-flight routine of leaning into the wind for several steps before running and powering off.

White-faced Ibis

White-faced Ibis

A huge flock of White-faced Ibis was feeding along the shore of one of the many small ponds along the road.

White-faced Ibis

White-faced Ibis

This bird usually appears as a dull dark brown creature, until the light hits him just so and all the iridescent colors come shining forth.

Red Wing Blackbird

Red Wing Blackbird

Swallows

Swallows

There is quite an assortment of small birds along the road,

Mallard in Flight

Mallard in Flight

Mallard in Flight

Mallard in Flight

Mallard in Flight

Mallard in Flight

 

 

 

 

 

 

as well as ducks, including these Mallards I managed to catch as they took off.

Mallard in Flight

Mallard in Flight

Mulie Hop

Mulie Hop

Mule deer and pronghorns were also encountered on this first drive through the refuge. The mule deer’s strange pogo stick hop when fleeing always amuses me. Jack rabbits as well as cottontails are present in large numbers.

Canada Goose Takeoff

Canada Goose Takeoff

Canada Goose Takeoff

Canada Goose Takeoff

Canada Goose Takeoff

Canada Goose Takeoff

Canada Goose Takeoff

Canada Goose Takeoff

Canada Goose Takeoff

Canada Goose Takeoff

And then there are Canadian Geese, lots of Canadian Geese. I generally forego photographing these large, some think, far too numerous birds, but I did like this takeoff sequence, so here it is.

My first impression of Malhuer NWR is… WOW ! Think I will be spending a little more time here than I originally planned. Stay tuned !

Thank you for shopping Amazon from my site!

When you click through to shop Amazon from here, I get a tiny commission, one that does not in any way impact what you pay, and all those tiny commissions eventually add up and that helps me keep this blog going !