Where Were You Guys?
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This may have been a great year for observing and photographing Bobcats but it’s been positively lousy when it comes to photographing ducks. By now, there should be hundreds of ducks wintering on the ponds at Sweetwater Wetlands. They’re not there — not even ten percent of the number of ducks that I’ve seen in years past. Why are they boycotting the wetlands? I haven’t a clue.
About a week ago I decided to change my luck and drive over to Ft. Lowell Park, just to see what was there. Ft. Lowell Park is located within Tucson’s city limits and it’s not exactly a wildlife preserve. It’s chock full of baseball diamonds, soccer fields, and tennis courts, and is an extremely busy venue for dog walkers. But, it does have a tiny “lake,” a pond, actually, of a couple of acres in size. I’ve seen a few ducks hanging out on the pond in years past, so I thought, perhaps . . . . .
To my surprise, the pond was carpeted with ducks! More than a hundred of them, crowded onto that pond’s small surface. The ducks were predominately American Wigeons. I made some photographs of them that I will feature soon. But, among the wigeons, was this:
This is a male Ring-necked Duck, as attractive a species as one will find. These compact little ducks are divers, meaning that they submerge themselves looking for food. I find the bird’s deep purple plumage and brilliant yellow eye to be irresistible.
Well, I still don’t know why these birds are avoiding the wetlands this year. But, I’m glad that I found at least a few of them elsewhere. The winter has just started, perhaps more ducks will show up at the wetlands as the season progresses.
Image made with a Canon 5Diii, 400 DO, aperture preferred setting, ISO 640, f4.5 @ 1/1250.