Reminder: You can enlarge any of the photos in this blog by clicking on it. Click again for a full-screen image.
Gadwalls are among the more striking ducks that I see over at Sweetwater Wetlands. There are other species that are more brightly colored than Gadwalls but, in my opinion, nothing quite matches the subtle beauty of a male Gadwall in breeding plumage.
Everything seems to harmonize on this bird: the subtle gray and copper-colored plumage and the remarkably intricate patterns on the duck’s flanks and breast. Even the male’s black bill coordinates beautifully.
Gadwalls spend the summer in the northern part of the United States, visiting Arizona in the winter. Other species like Northern Shovelers are generally not paired up this time of year, but when I see Gadwalls they are always in male-female pairs.
Gadwalls are dabblers, meaning they feed without submerging their bodies totally in the water. Typical of dabblers these ducks sometimes assume an inverted position with their heads, necks, and upper bodies submerged, and with their hind ends and tails raised vertically.
It’s not the most elegant activity but it gets the job done. I’m always reminded of synchronized swimmers in some Olympic event when I see ducks doing this.
Pictures taken with a Canon 5Diii, 400 DO, ISO 400, aperture preferred setting, f6.3, shutter speeds varied.