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Common goldeneye (Bucephala clangula) drake engages in courtship display.


Canon EOS-1D Mark IV, EF500mm f/4L IS USM +1.4x at 700 mm, 1/2000 sec at f/8, ISO 400

Yesterday I spent the morning at Shoreline Lake in Mountain View, California with the goal of photographing the Goldeneyes exhibiting their courtship display behaviors. While the level of courtship activity (other than feeding activity) was surprisingly low, I did manage to capture this image of a Common Goldeneye drake pulling off a head toss. Rather than trying to impress a female as one might expect, the pictured male duck struck this pose in response to another male’s encroachment into its feeding area. A male/female pair of Barrow’s Goldeneyes have been reported on the lake within the past week, but if they were still present yesterday they both escaped my notice.

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