A few Wood Ducks were hanging out on an alligator ramp in the old rice field pond. Everyone was happy until a hawk flew over and one by one they slid into the water and paddled to the far shore and relative safety of the reeds.
This one lone duck didn’t seem to get the message and stood her ground on a lump of debris.
These photos were taken two weeks before Hurricane Irma swept through South Carolina last week. I passed this spot yesterday and the duck weed blew into the pond corners and many of the reed islands are re-arranged.
This was one of those times that I took the first shot not knowing just what that “blob” was until I had zoomed in on the screen. The kind that sometimes turns out to be a piece of trash or a stick. Or three Wood Ducks whose bodies appeared disjointed from my angle.
Fortunately, I was able to work my way a little closer and the three stayed put while I took a family portrait.
With very few ducks around to consume the Duck Weed it is covering a larger portion of Ravenswood Pond than a month ago. It gets moved around by the wind and concentrates at the edges where you can get the closest photographs of the Wood Ducks. On the plus side there is less glare.
The female Wood Duck was taking a break from her chicks. They were sticking together and wasted no time moving away from perceived danger. Based on the ducklings size this could be the group that a few weeks ago numbered around a dozen, now down to five.
One male was at the other end of the pond where the duck weed pattern is different with large gaps out in the middle of the pond for a nice reflection. The water is deeper here–the larger alligators can swim without sticking out of the water.
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.
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.
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.
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.