Northern Shovelers don’t get a lot of attention from photographers and I’ve been guilty of ignoring them myself. But I think the colors of the male in breeding plumage are beautiful if you can get past that silly looking spatulate bill.
1/2000, f/7.1, ISO 500, Canon 7D Mark II, Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM + EF 1.4 III Extender, not baited, set up or called in
Yesterday I was photographing birds on a local (partially frozen) pond when one female and three male shovelers came from out of nowhere and swam by directly in front of me. They were swimming in single file and I wanted still water in the photos so I trained my lens on the male in the lead and fired away. Because they were so close the duck was a little tight in all of the images but I still like the way they turned out.
In particular I enjoy the good detail, the interesting colors of the bird and that double whirly-swirly reflection below the tail. It isn’t a spectacular shot of course but for me it’s a peaceful, pleasing image. And I was happy to get it because our ongoing inversion and resulting gunky air have severely limited my photography for many weeks now.
1/2500, f/7.1, ISO 500, Canon 7D Mark II, Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM + EF 1.4 III Extender, not baited, set up or called in
I’m including this mostly butt-shot photo, taken perhaps 30 seconds later as the shovelers approached the edge of the ice, just to document them as a group (the bird in the first image is the male on the right – the “leader of the pack”). And to illustrate how his iridescent head color has turned from green to purple at a different light angle.
I’m very, very quickly tiring of winter. There are birds around, raptors especially, but it’s a waste of time, gas and money to drive to a location, photograph them in deplorable light, and then delete them all when I get home. Our inversions clear out once the snow is gone so…
bring on the spring!
PS – I shouldn’t bad-mouth the snow and cold too much because we have the first good snowpack in the mountains we’ve had for years and that bodes well for spring runoff and the disappearing Great Salt Lake. And for birds.
Addendum: I’m adding this photo in response to a question from Dick Harlow in a comment below. He asked if I had any photos of these ducks that show the spatulate shape of the bill better. This is the best I have at doing that (on the male on the left). I’m surprised I don’t have any images that show it better than this…