Northern Shoveler Drake and Hen

A dapper looking Northern Shoveler drakeDapper looking Northern Shoveler drake – Nikon D810, f8, 1/1600, ISO 500, -0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Duck hunting season opened yesterday here in Northern Utah but I don’t hunt with a gun, just my camera. Farmington Bay WMA might be full of hunters this morning but it doesn’t take some of the ducks long to learn where the no hunting sections of the WMA are and some of the ducks will congregate in those areas. Some of those areas are easy to access for photographers and that can make getting images of them just a little bit easier because these birds are typically fairly skittish.  This beautiful Northern Shoveler drake in breeding plumage was photographed in one of those no hunting areas on New Years Day 2015 at Farmington Bay.

In breeding plumage the bills of drake shovelers remind me of the black patent leather shoes I wore and disliked so much as a child.

Female Northern Shoveler at Farmington Bay WMAFemale Northern Shoveler at Farmington Bay WMA – Nikon D200, f6.3, 1/640, ISO 250, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

Northern Shoveler hens aren’t as colorful as the males and their bills aren’t ever black but they have beautiful makings in their plumage. Northern shovelers are dabbling ducks and feed by tipping their heads down to reach aquatic invertebrates and vegetation beneath the surface of the water.

As the temperatures drop further north more and more of these handsome Northern Shovelers will make their way here to northern Utah, I’m excited about that. As numerous as they are I don’t have all that many photos of them in my portfolio because of how skittish they can be.

Life is good.



  1. Jane Chesebrough October 3, 2016 at 2:14 pm

    I always enjoy a sighting of a pair of shovellers because of those gorgeous colours. Lovely captures, Mia.

  2. Elephant's Child October 2, 2016 at 2:35 pm

    Wonderful images.
    The water in the first looks like silk.
    And yes, I love the iridescence, and the subtle charm of the female.

  3. Patty Chadwick October 2, 2016 at 12:13 pm

    I missed the male the first time somehow. He’s beautiful! Love the iridescence….

  4. Utahbooklover October 2, 2016 at 11:15 am

    Love these great images on this beautiful Sunday. Thank you Mia!

  5. Patty Chadwick October 2, 2016 at 9:02 am

    Nice, nice image! Her reflection is so crisp and clear! It even captires the catch light in her eye…

  6. Liz Cormack October 2, 2016 at 8:29 am

    The males shovelers are so beautiful. I love the reflection image of the female. Great photos.

  7. Bob McPherson October 2, 2016 at 7:00 am

    Beautiful photos, Mia.

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