A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall

A ring-necked duck swims in a heavy rain on Bull Lake

I was sitting next to Bull Lake for a while, watching a male bufflehead diving for food and photographing him whenever he swam close. I’ve been wanting to take more environmental portraits so when he moved a ways off I turned my lens to this distant ring-necked duck as the rain moved in. I was happy enough with the early pics but then the rain turned heavy and pounded the water in large drops. Ducks are built for the wet of course but even so I felt a bit sorry for him as the water exploded around him. The hard rain lasted only seconds, then he and the other ducks resumed their feeding.

If you’d like a closer view of what a ring-necked duck looks like, I took this picture almost a year earlier just one lake over. It was also raining, but only lightly.

Ring-necked Thieves

One ring-necked duck chases another to try and steal his food

Sometimes animal behavior seems all too familiar to our own.

A small flock of ring-necked ducks was diving under the shallow waters of Bull Lake to feed, sometimes bringing up what I’m guessing is the root of an aquatic plant. Whatever it was, the ducks were very fond of it, and the one that surfaced with it would swim away from the others while trying to quickly eat it, all while any nearby ducks would try to swim over and steal it and eat it for themselves. I wasn’t sure which of these two males actually surfaced with the plant but the chase was on.

While in a mad dash to escape with his food, the ring-neck swam directly over a lesser scaup as she was surfacing, leaving her rather startled but none the worse for wear. He held onto his prize and was able to eat it at last.


Collision Course

Ring Ripples

A male ring-necked duck relaxes as raindrops create ripples in the water

A male ring-necked duck relaxes on a winter morning as raindrops create ripples in the water. Taken on the last day of an almost three week vacation over the Christmas break. I made a note in my journal about how much I enjoyed watching him before he swam off when more cars arrived, as Emma’s health was worrisome and the refuge was a nice distraction while my wife was home with Emma. Emma died a few days later and I wasn’t in the mood to edit the pictures from this trip (particularly an egret picture I’ll post later), but it is easier now with a little more distance.