Bufflehead, Bucephala albeola -- Viera Wetlands; Viera, Florida: On the last couple of days of 2012, I was at the Viera Wetlands just west of Viera, Florida. When I arrived the wetlands seemed quite active. Great Blue Herons were building nest, coots were congregating in great masses, and numerous waterfowl species were feeding in the various water impoundments.
One of those species was a bufflehead. I have observed buffleheads on many occasions and have always found them to be one of the most beautiful duck species with their graphic patterns of black and white plumage. As I rounded the corner at the west end of the first water impoundment I saw a drake flirting with the eastern shoreline, and a photographer was already there taking photos.
Hoping that I would not miss an opportunity to shoot a bufflehead, for the first time, I pulled around and waited for the photographer to finish, and it wasn’t long until he drove off. I pulled up, took a few shots from my van and then got out, set-up a tripod low to the ground at the edge of the water. When I set-up the tripod the bird moved a little further off shore, but after sitting quietly for about ten minutes the bufflehead made its way back toward me.
The sky had been partly sunny/cloudy (depends on if you’re a half full or half empty kind of person) all morning. As I started shooting the bufflehead, sunlight struck the bird at just the right angle to reveal the often hidden iridescencet greens and purples of the buffleheads plumage. I had caught glimpse of the iridescence on the head and neck in the past, but on this morning, and with this bird, lighting and angles were just perfect, and this handsome drake was really showing off his colors.
Nikon D7000, Nikkor 500mm lens, 1/1,000 second @ f7.1, tripod
Posted from the lounge of The Explorers Club, New York, NY