Bufflehead Duck, In the early 20th century shooting had reduced Bufflehead population numbers significantly, but between 1955 and 1992 surveys indicate that numbers more than doubled, despite large year-to-year fluctuations.

Unlike Mallards, these birds are more wary of humans, so don’t expect to get too close. According to Cornell’s All About Birds http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/bufflehead/lifehistory/ac#at_consv :

  • The Bufflehead nests almost exclusively in holes excavated by Northern Flickers and, on occasion, by Pileated Woodpeckers.
  • Unlike most ducks, the Bufflehead is mostly monogamous, often remaining with the same mate for several years.
  • The Bufflehead lays eggs more slowly than most other ducks, commonly with intervals of two or three days between eggs.

The takeoff sequence was shot at Braddock Bay, which is a major stop-over on the eastern inland migration flyway. It is located on the south shore of Lake Ontario. Upon reaching this area, most birds will continue northward by circling the Ontario shoreline in an easterly or westerly direction since there are few updrafts over the lake, resulting in the expenditure of more energy.

1/500@f/11, ISO 250, EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM +1.4x III, 560 mm, Canon EOS 60D

 

Gray Catbird: North American Population 10m, 15-49% increase over the past 30 years. (Exposure: 1/60 @ f/4.5, ISO 100, Canon PowerShot G10)

With some practice and luck you don’t necessarily need an expensive camera with a super-telephoto lens. This shot was taken in a National Audubon sanctuary in Florida, then cropped. Note the slow shutter speed and sharpness. I was ready–though the bird did not sit for long, it was motionless.  (More photos at: http://sfielding.photoshop.com)