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Posts Tagged ‘Anas acuta’

Early on Thanksgiving morning, some Northern Pintail ducks (Anas acuta) at Huntley Meadows Park in Northern Virginia decided to celebrate the holiday by sleeping in a bit. Their decision may have been prompted in part by the weather—it was just below freezing and a thin layer of ice covered some of the water at the park. Unlike the ducks, I did not sleep in and ventured out into the frosty morning to see what I could discover.

Happy Thanksgiving to all those who are celebrating this special day. Even if you are not, it’s always a good idea to pause for a minute to remember all of the blessings in our lives that so often we take for granted.

Northern Pintail

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I love the mood of the early morning—there is such a sense of tranquility. Here is what what things looked like this morning at Huntley Meadows Park. The most obvious subject was a male Northern Pintail duck (Anas acuta), but I love the way that you can see other ducks and geese in the background.

Northern Pintail

Northern Pintail

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Northern Pintail ducks (Anas acuta) are remarkably illusive—they never seem to come close to the shore and most often are partially hidden by vegetation. This past weekend at Huntley Meadows Park, I was able to capture some of the beautiful details of this male pintail that was out in open, albeit at a pretty good distance. I think he was initially just waking up and stretching out his long, elegant neck before settling into a more “normal” pose.

It certainly was handy to have a long telephoto zoom lens.

Northern Pintail

Northern Pintail

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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It was really cool yesterday to see some elegant Northern Pintail ducks (Anas acuta) poking about in the distant weeds of Huntley Meadows Park. At first I thought that the ducks in this first image were male-female couple. The more I look at the image, however, the more I think the duck in the foreground may be an immature male that will eventually look like the male in the background. The Northern Pintails in the second image look more to me like a male-female couple.

Northern Pintail

Northern Pintail

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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How low can you go? This male Northern Pintail duck (Anas acuta) stretched himself out almost completely flat as he skimmed food from the top of the water recently at Huntley Meadows Park.

It almost looks like he is sniffing out his food like a hound, but I am not even sure that birds have a sense of smell.

Northern Pintail

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Male birds generally have brighter colors and more distinctive patterns than their female counterparts and therefore tend to get a lot more attention from photographers. The females, though, have a beauty and elegance that often equals or surpasses that of the males, like this female Northern Pintail (Anas acuta) that I spotted earlier this month at Huntley Meadows Park in Alexandria, Virginia.

Northern Pintail

Northern Pintail

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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One of my favorite winter ducks at Huntley Meadows Park is the male Northern Pintail (Anas acuta). Its elegant long neck and refined colors give it an almost aristocratic look.

The duck in the photo looks a little less dignified when grooming himself (don’t we all), but I really like the way that this image provides a glimpse of its personality. In the second image, you can get a sense of the length of the pintail’s neck and its startling brightness (and its regal posture). The final shot gives you an idea of the flexibility of that long neck—I think I have less than half of that range of motion in my neck.

Northern Pintail

Northern Pintail

Northern Pintail

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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