Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Pic of the Day

   Ringed-necked Duck – Ritch Grissom Memorial Wetlands; Viera, Florida:  Ringed-necked ducks have always been one of my favorite duck species.  The male with its gray flanks set against a purple black back and breast, accented with a white flank strips and ringed bill is visually stunning.  Though the female wears a dress of brown feathers, her white-eye and bill ring gives her a subtle beauty that makes her the perfect complement to the male.
   In the wild it is usually difficult to get close to ducks, but at protected sanctuaries and preserves they can be very approachable.  As I drove the auto trail at the Ritch Grissom wetlands I spotted these ring-necks feeding in the shallows close to the road.
   I pulled the van past the ducks and parked, got out and stealthily slid down to the waters edge about a hundred feet from them. With my camera already on a tripod I sat down on the ground and hoped that the ducks would move toward me as they fed.
While waiting for the ducks to swim toward me a Limpkin landed in the reeds right in front of me and began plucking apple snails from the water.  I could not believe my good fortune as the Limpkin presented me with a great photo opportunity. 
   While I was shooting the Limpkin, another wildlife watcher stopped to look at the Ring-necks.  In doing so the ducks began to swim toward me as if I were not even there.  As they came within range I began to shoot.  As I began shooting the sun broke through clouds, bathing the ducks in the warm glowing light of a retiring sun.  As I have said so many times in previous post, I love it when everything comes together.  That evening I photographed these ring-necked ducks, it could not have been more perfect.

Nikon D300, Nikkor 500mm f4, Digital Capture ISO 200, 1/400 sec. @ f9

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