Yesterday at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge I was able to photograph a Mallard drake as it lifted off from the water on the south side of the auto tour loop. A few of the shots were blurry because I had trouble locking onto the duck because of the busy background but I was able to lock on for three shots before the duck flew over the reeds. Once I was able to view the image on my computer monitor I could see a bit of green plumage on the duck’s head and realized this drake is going into breeding plumage.
Drake Mallards do look different in breeding and nonbreeding plumage phases.
Mallard drakes look their fanciest in breeding plumage and by October the drake in the first image will look like the drake above that I photographed in December of 2008 at a pond near where I live. Mallards are in breeding plumage from October until May when they will molt into their drabber nonbreeding plumage.
Yesterday I mentioned that September signals cooler weather for me and these ducks don’t need a calendar to tell them that it is arriving.
Life is good.