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Posts Tagged ‘bufflehead’

I was thrilled Saturday when the sunlight illuminated the beautiful colors of this male Bufflehead duck (Bucephala albeola) as he was drying his wing feathers at the pond at Ben Brenman Park in Alexandria, Virginia. In the past I had gotten glimpses of the brilliant purple and green colors on the head of a bufflehead, but this is the first time that I have been able to capture them so well.

In most of my previous shots of a male bufflehead, those colors all blend together into a nondescript dark color. I was definitely helped by the way that the way the bufflehead had lifted himself partially out of the water in order to flap his wings, giving me a clearer view of its head..

bufflehead

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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From a distance, male Bufflehead ducks (Bucephala albeola) generally look like they are black and white.  Last Friday, however, the lighting was coming from a good direction and revealed some of the beautiful green and purple iridescent feathers on this bird’s head. The second image shows a Bufflehead couple and shows the dramatic difference in appearance between the male and female of this species.

Bufflehead

Buffleheads

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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It was gray and overcast early last Monday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge when I captured this shot of a small flock of Bufflehead ducks (Bucephala albeola) flying away from me. Normally “butt shots” are undesirable, but in this case I like the almost abstract patterns of the birds’ wings and their reflections in the water.

Although this looks like I converted the image to black and white, this is more or less what it looked like color-wise straight out of the camera. No matter how I played with saturation, I could not bring out any colors in the shot. I think, though, that the monochromatic look of the final image is a pretty good match for the mood of that moment.

bufflehead

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Can birds smile? With rigid bills, it is probably anatomically impossible for birds to smile in the same way that humans do.

Sometimes, though, a bird will look at me in such a friendly, inquisitive way that it is easy for me to imagine that it is smiling at me. That was the case recently with this female Bufflehead duck (Bucephala albeola) that had cocked her head to the side and looked right at me.

I generally try to approach my subjects as slowly and stealthily as I can so that they will not perceive me as threatening. Of course, most wildlife subjects have much more highly developed senses than I do and they usually catch me in the act. Sometimes they will flee, but if I am lucky, they will simply smile at me.

bufflehead

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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As soon as I spotted this female Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola), she started to swim away. Then all of the sudden she stopped, turned her head, and seemed to smile back at me. This image captured our shared moment together.

Bufflehead

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

 

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I love the way that Bufflehead ducks (Bucephala albeola) run across the surface of the water to gain speed before taking off, like this male bufflehead that I spotted last Saturday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. The images were already pretty much monochromatic because of the limited light, so I decided to do a black-and-white conversion of them.

If you look closely at the first image, you will see that my camera’s shutter speed was fast enough to freeze the motion of the water, but slow enough that the wings are blurred, which I think enhances the sense of speed. The wing tips are blurred in the second image as well and we also have a really cool reflection of the bufflehead after it has successfully taken to the air.

bufflehead

bufflehead

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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For the first time in a while, a male Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola) ventured close enough for me to get some shots yesterday when I was exploring Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. I have posted some photos of buffleheads fairly recently, but they have all been of females (or possibly immature males).

The shape and colors of these little water birds, especially the males, always strike me as cartoonish—like they were drawn by Disney artists.

Bufflehead

Bufflehead

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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