It’s unusual to see a duck swimming alone this time of year, when all respectable water fowl are happily married at least until spring. This male Blue-Winged Teal must have been a bit late attracting a mate this year and looks pretty sad swimming all alone.
Single – Brazos Bend State Park, Texas
Copyright © 2011 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 7D set on aperture (Av) priority using an EF 400mm f/4 DO IS USM + EF 1.4x Extender mono-pod mounted. The exposure was taken at 560mm, f/7.1 for 1/160th of a second at ISO 200. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3.
Click on the image above for a larger version.
Blue-winged teals are generally the first ducks to migrate south in the fall and the last to fly north in the spring (smart birds). They migrate from the Prairie Pothole Region in central Canada to wintering areas in Florida, the Caribbean Islands, the Gulf Coast of Texas and Louisiana, Mexico and Central and South America. These beautiful birds have the highest annual mortality rate (65% of the 6 million die each year) of any species of duck but females may lay as may as ten eggs each year so the average population remains fairly constant.
Here in Texas, Blue-Winged Teals are a favorite of many winter wildlife photographers including myself. Their distinctive coloring makes for a beautiful subject against the clear blue background of a lake or pond. Finding a male swimming alone is a rare treat!