My post titled “Wood Duck Pair” from last April contained the following photo of a pair of Wood Ducks at Lake Martin.
During another visit to Lake Martin just last month (September), I captured a more distant shot of a pair of Wood Ducks perched on a log floating amongst the duckweed. Of course, I do not know whether or not this is the same pair.
At our home we have a pond with a Wood Duck box that annually hosts breeding pairs of ducks in late winter and early spring. Not knowing much about birds, I’d always assumed that all male Wood Ducks look like what I saw on the pond, i.e., like the one in the first image in this post. Thus, my naive thought upon first seeing the preceding photo was that the duck on the left is a juvenile male offspring of the female next to it. A quick online search later showed the error in my thinking. The duck on the left is a mature male Wood Duck in its non-breeding plumage.
Shortly after I took the above photo, the male reversed its perch on the log. Both ducks then turned their heads so that their faces were in the sun, producing a bit of catch light in their eyes.
With all the distracting elements (roadside shrubbery and grass in the foreground, a tree on the right, and maybe a tree branch hanging down from the top), these image are certainly below par for a blog post. Cropping would not have helped much because of encroachment of some of these elements into the area of interest. However, I decided to post these uncropped images as an example of how tough it can sometimes be to get a good view of wildlife in Southern Louisiana wetlands.
After taking these photos, I decided to see if I could sneak across the road and hold the camera over the grass for some better shots. Instead, all I did was reaffirm to myself the fact that birds don’t fear vehicles but will flee from humans. I was only able to slowly open the truck door to an opening of about six inches, at which point the ducks flew off.
The location from which the last two photos were taken is shown on the map below. Zoom in for more detail.