Wood Duck

Female Wood Duck on March 15, 2021. This was my first longer distance birding trip since July 2020. I was out the door near sunrise. The temperature hovered near freezing with a wind chill in the 20's so I hoped my time would not be wasted. My first stop, and originally my only stop, was a pond in Baltimore County. There have been over a dozen Ring-necked Ducks hanging out here with a couple Wood Ducks. A friend mentioned that the Ring-neckeds were being "standoffish" yesterday morning but the Wood Ducks were welcoming. Both sets of ducks on my visit today were distant and uninterested in my corn. The geese and mallards welcomed it. I decided to head to another spot knowing I had a higher chance of success.

At my arrival at my second destination, I was the only one around. Great news for me! This meant that the geese and ducks were likely hungry. Lugging 10 pounds of corn on the shore, the birds noticed and started to come around. To my surprise, not only did the Wood Ducks come out, there were many more than I anticipated. 14 of them, 10 drakes and 4 hens! The sun was still coming up so the light was beautiful on this female. I snagged some shots before more geese joined the party.

A hawk or eagle must have circled around in the middle of feeding and every single creature in the water fled. The Wood Ducks became disinterested and gathered on the opposite shore for preening and naps. They were up against the rocks and despite not having a way to photograph them well from that side, their spot was at a bad sun angle.

Lens - Tamron 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 @ 600m on Nikon D500