Wing flapping

Figure 1 - Wing flapping ring-necked duck. Fresh Pond Reservation, Cambridge, MA, October 30, 2015. (c) DE Wolf 2015.

Figure 1 – Wing flapping ring-necked duck. Fresh Pond Reservation, Cambridge, MA, October 30, 2015. (c) DE Wolf 2015.

The ducks have begun to congregate on Fresh Pond. They appear to have favorite places, and the different species occupy the same spots as last year. I was delighted on Thursday to see that the hooded mergansers had returned to Black’s Nook.  I had taken a day off from my camera, just to enjoy and take in the color and the smell of fresh air after a heavy autumn rain storm.  When I returned on Friday this group was already gone. But I suspect that others will appear.

The pond itself is filled largely with ring-necks (Aythya collaris). All of the ducks treat humans warily. They don’t flee in a panic but paddle off to a safer distance. Hidden behind foliage and a chain-link fence, I was able to photograph a group when one of the males rose out of the water and put on a “wing flapping” display.  Fortunately I had already set the focus and so was able to capture the scene in the few seconds that it lasted.  This is why I prefer the more moderate zoom – it is quicker than the long zoom and doesn’t require a monopod.

Wing flapping is an expression of dominance and, in the breeding season, a  courting ritual. Multiple drakes often gather around a single hen and display in this way. She in turn  picks out the drake she likes with a nod of the head back and forth or paddling with her head held low.

Canon T2i with EF70-200mm f/4L USM lens at 149 mm, ISO 1600, Aperture Priority AE mode, 1/2000th sec at f/7.1 with +1 exposure compensation.

 

This entry was posted in Personal Photographic Wanderings.