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Posts Tagged ‘Ring-necked duck’

As I was going through some of my bird photos, I realized that a majority of them feature the male of the species. The males tend to be more loud and flashy, so I guess it’s not surprising that they draw my attention much of the time. The female often has a more delicate beauty and coloration, as is the case with this female Ring-necked duck (Aythya collaris) that I photographed recently.

I added an image of a male Ring-necked duck that I photographed the same day to allow you to make your own comparison and judgments. It may be a cliché, but it is nonetheless true that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Migrating birds are starting to arrive in my area, including a few Ring-necked ducks (Aythya collaris) that I observed last week in a man-made pond in a nearby suburban housing area. The water in my local marsh tends to be too shallow for these diving ducks, but this pond seems to suit them pretty well.

The ducks tend to stay near the center of the pond, which makes them a little challenging to photograph. These shots were taken from a distance, but they let you see some of the beautiful details of the male Ring-necked duck, including the pattern on his bill and his beautiful golden eyes.

If I have the good luck that I had last year, I look forward to seeing and photographing another half-dozen species of ducks in the coming months.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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It’s a little ironic that I took these photos of a Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collaris), some of my best duck photos, in a man-made pond in my neighborhood, rather than in a more natural setting. I have never seen any Ring-necked Ducks at my marshland park—perhaps the water is not deep enough for these diving ducks—but found them in a very suburban setting.

The light was bright on the day when I watched some of these ducks diving and resurfacing every couple of minutes. The glare was pretty intense on some of my initial photos and I didn’t like the way they turned out.

However, there is a walking trail all of the way around the pond, so I went off in search of a better lighting situation.  When I reached an area of open shade, I encountered this duck near the shore. Unlike his fellow ducks, he seemed to be relaxing and was remarkably cooperative in letting me take his portrait.

If you are like most people, you may wonder why this duck is not called a ring-billed duck, because there doesn’t seem to be any ring around his neck. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the bird’s name refers to the hard-to-see chestnut collar on its black neck, which apparently jumped out to the nineteenth century biologists that described the species using dead specimens.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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I photographed a lot of ducks last weekend and have already posted photos of Mallard and Hooded Merganser. As I was going over my photos, I realized that I had a third kind of duck, though I was not immediately sure about its identity. Fortunately they have very distinctively colored bills and yellow eyes, so I was able to identify them as Ring-necked ducks (Aythya collaris). As I watched them, I noticed too that they are diving ducks, rather than the dabbling ducks that I am more used to seeing. I don’t know how long they can hold their breath, but it seemed like they stayed underwater a long time.

The light was a bit harsh when I took these photos, but hopefully they are clear enough for you to see and appreciate the beauty of this duck, a type that I had never before encountered.

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Ring-necked ducks in early November

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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