Untamed Images Blog

    Adventures in Nature Photography

    Browsing Posts tagged common goldeneye

    After hearing the Goldeneye ducks had begun their courtship rituals, last week I decided to spend a morning at Lake Shoreline in Mountain View to see for myself. While I observed a number of half-hearted courtship displays by the males, and a bit of bonding behavior between a few male/female pairs, I didn’t see any really flamboyant displays. Still, I managed to get some nice shots of Common and Barrow’s Goldeneyes going through their typical morning routines of feeding and preening. Oh, and the super-cooperative Lesser Yellowlegs was an added bonus.

    Though I spent most of my time focussed on ducks, I could not resist this Lesser Yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes) when it came close and posed in the beautiful early-morning light.

    Canon EOS-1D Mark IV, EF500mm f/4L IS USM +1.4x at 700mm, 1/1600 sec at f/5.6, ISO 800

    A male Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula) dries its feathers after preening.

    Canon EOS-1D Mark IV, EF500mm f/4L IS USM +1.4x at 700mm, 1/2500 sec at f/5.6, ISO 800

    A Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula) drake dives for its breakfast on Lake Shoreline.

    Canon EOS-1D Mark IV, EF500mm f/4L IS USM +1.4x at 700mm, 1/2500 sec at f/5.6, ISO 800

    Having retrieved a clam from the lake bed, the Barrow's Goldeneye (Bucephala islandica), amazingly, will swallow it whole.

    Canon EOS-1D Mark IV, EF500mm f/4L IS USM +2.0x at 1000mm, 1/2000 sec at f/10, ISO 800

    Share Button

    Be My Valentine!

    Comments off

    A drake Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula) performs a courtship display known as the "head-throw-kick" with the aim of attracting a female.

    Canon EOS-1D Mark IV, EF500mm f/4L IS USM +1.4x at 700 mm, 1/3200 sec at f/5.6, ISO 400

    After reading Tom Grey’s post to the South Bay Birds mailing list on Saturday in which he reported seeing Common Goldeneyes exhibiting courtship display behavior at Shoreline Lake in Mountain View, CA, I decided to try my luck this morning to see if I might be fortunate enough to photograph this phenomenon. It took some patience, but eventually I was able to photograph two of the drakes (male ducks) showing off for the nearby hens over the course of several hours. The photo shown above is my favorite from the four courtship displays I witnessed.

    Since today is February 12th, I can only assume that these males don’t want to find themselves dateless on Valentine’s Day!

    IMPORTANT NOTE: You can see a larger version of posted images on this blog by clicking on the image. Click on the larger image (or press the ESC key) to return to the original blog post. At this date, it does not yet work on older posts.

    Share Button


    1 comment

    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.

    Share Button