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In years past Sweetwater Wetlands has been an autumn-winter home to large numbers of ducks. Migrants begin arriving after the middle of October and by late November the ponds are often filled with them.
Not so this year. Until about 10 days ago the wetlands’ ponds had only a few migrants swimming on them. For whatever reason — perhaps this year’s el Niño weather pattern — the migration was late and I began to despair of seeing anything. That’s changed in the last few days. Finally, the migrants are showing up. The wetlands still lack the numbers of ducks that I’ve seen in years past but there are new arrivals daily and, at last, the ponds are becoming populated again.
The other day I had some fun photographing a small flock of Mallards as they relaxed on one of the wetlands’ ponds. It was late in the afternoon — my favorite time of day for nature photography — and the low and slanting sunlight was creating spectacular color tones on the pond’s surface. The water turned a brilliant golden hue as it was struck by the sun’s oblique rays.
The unique light made photographing these ducks a real treat.
There are a few Mallards that remain at the wetlands year-round. Their numbers are greatly augmented in the fall and winter by migrating birds and I’m sure that this flock contained at least some migrants. There are more than a half-dozen other species that habituate the wetlands’ ponds in autumn and winter and I’ll do my best to photograph them as they arrive and make themselves at home.
Images made with a Canon 5Diii, 400 DO, aperture preferred setting. Both images shot at ISO 1000. The first image photographed at f6.3 @ 1/320, the second at f6.3 @ 1/200. Camera stabilized in both images by bracing against a metal railing.