Category Archives: Duck

A Duck Tale

Mother Wood Duck and seven ducklings climbed onto the Alligator ramp for some grooming and rest.

Wood Duck with Ducklings
Wood Duck with Ducklings – click on photo for larger view

Drowsy, without a care in the world, after a bit everyone settled down and Mom stood watch. I thought these ducks were taking a risk: they don’t call it an Alligator platform for nothing!

Wood Duck with Ducklings
Wood Duck with Ducklings – click on photo for larger view

Dad patrolled the waters.

Look carefully to the left of the Drake and you will see an Alligator body part is sticking out of the water just a smidge. I didn’t see this until I was developing these photos.

Wood Duck with Alligator Lurking
Wood Duck with Alligator Lurking – click on photo for larger view

I did suspect that something was about to happen because the Drake let out a squawk, reversed course and paddled away.

Wood Duck with Ducklings
Wood Duck with Ducklings – click on photo for larger view

Mama also sensed something was wrong.

Wood Duck with Ducklings
Wood Duck with Ducklings – click on photo for larger view

I missed them exit from the platform but those ducklings were just about running on the water to get out of there.

Wood Duck Ducklings
Wood Duck Ducklings – click on photo for larger view

When I glanced back the platform had a new occupant.

Alligator – click on photo for larger view

The ducklings and mom disappeared towards the other side of the pond, with a tale of survival, this time.


Wood Duck Ducklings
Wood Duck Ducklings – click on photo for larger view

Ducks Being Ducks

Duck behavior has a rhythm to it: eat, preen, paddle, splash… then repeat. This Blue-winged Teal added some stretching moves to his paddling that showed off his color.

Occasionally they make a big splash as this trio did, moving about 10 feet down the pond as an alligator raised his head nearby. Reflections from the budding trees on the other side of the pond added some color interest to the water.

No one was hurt and calmness returned almost immediately.  The direction and slow movement of this male Teal swimming back up the pond put him in the perfect spot for exposure and reflection.

Click on any photo for larger view.


American Wigeon

I’ve spotted American WIgeons off and on at Magnolia’s Audubon Swamp since the middle of January. Up until today they were always at the shady end of the pond resulting in poor shots.


Today I finally got some nice photographs of ducks in the sun as they were having an early morning swim down the side of the pond. A pretty bird even without the iridescent green head stripe, some of the males are now sporting their breeding colors.


Click on photos for larger view.



Wood Duck

A few Wood Ducks have been around the ponds at Magnolia Gardens over the last month. With the males’ color scheme they are easy to pick out in a crowd of ducks. That and they are usually retreating faster than the rest, having been aware of a human before you spot them.

Wood Duck

This day they were gathered at the far end of the big pond. I waited at an opening in the brush for them to edge their way closer.


Back and forth, I finally got a couple of shots without too much glare on the water.

Hey…follow me…

I know the way…

In late afternoon at Middleton Place’s barnyard most of the animals are rounded up and secured for the night. This is for their safety and for some, to keep them from causing mischief. I think this sheep had mischief on his mind as he pointed the way further from his pen.


While the sheep and some Guinea Hens were being corralled these Mallards were zooming back and forth through the horse enclosure. They stayed in a straight line, flashing their orange feet and iridescent heads, anxious not to miss any feeding opportunities.


Click on photo for larger view.

Middleton Place, Charleston, SC, 2/6/2017



Blue-winged Teal Pair

I was sitting on a bench at the edge of the swamp watching a Great Blue Heron when this pair of Blue-winged Teals swam by.


The pair mostly stayed together, only rarely separating for a solo photograph.


The Great Blue Heron can easily see over the vegetation, watching for lunch as more Teals swam behind him.


The Teal pair quickly did a U-turn when the open water ended near where the Heron stood and went back where they came from.


Magnolia Plantation Audubon Swamp, Charleston, SC.

Blue-winged Teal

Blue-winged Teals are dabbling ducks and often have bits of grass or duckweed hanging from their beaks or heads.  The ones at Magnolia Plantation are wary of people and I mostly get photographs of them swimming away.


They do a lot of swimming in circles, creating rings of waves. If you stand still they sometimes come circling back near the shore.


When they are away from the duckweed and the light is right their reflections can be quite pretty.


Click on any photo for larger view.