Drake Gadwall Flapping His Wings on a Winter Day

/, Gadwalls, Jordan River Parkway Trail, Salt Lake County, Utah/Drake Gadwall Flapping His Wings on a Winter Day

Drake Gadwall flapping his wingsDrake Gadwall flapping his wings – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/2000, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Hurray! I was able to get outside and down to the local ponds to photograph for a bit yesterday when the sun tried to break through the clouds. I was getting a bad case of cabin fever and was worried that I was going to forget how to photograph birds after nearly a week of cruddy weather. Well, not really worried but it did feel good to focus on some birds and take a few images. Except for the wild and domestic mallards, a few coots and gulls there wasn’t anything very interesting to photograph at the pond closest to where I live but at one slightly further away there were some Gadwalls on a pond right next to the Jordan River.

Several of the Gadwalls were tipping their heads under the water to feed when this drake started to flap his wings before settling back down on the water. This happened so quickly that my first two images were blurry but after I acquired focus I was able to get several images of the drake flapping his wings. This was my favorite of those photos.

Gadwall in golden reflectionsGadwall in golden reflections – Nikon D200, tripod mounted, f7.1, 1/400, ISO 250, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

Drake Gadwalls aren’t as flashy or as colorful as some male ducks but I think they have an understated beauty to their appearance. The image above shows a drake Gadwall photographed in his breeding plumage in December of 2009 at one of the local ponds, I wanted to include this side view of a drake Gadwall because it shows the intricate patterns of his plumage, his velvety black rump and the silver and peachy colored feathery plumes on his back. They are dapper looking ducks.

Even though I see Gadwalls practically all year long here in northern Utah I don’t have many images of them partly because they most always seem to be just out of the reach of my lens so I get a bit excited when they are close enough to photograph and that usually occurs during the winter, like it did yesterday.

I feel better having fired off a few shots and that may help me get through the next few days of freezing fog, our nasty inversion and cloudy skies.

Life is good.



  1. Utahbooklover January 27, 2017 at 2:31 pm

    Great images! Glad you got out yesterday. Now we get the sun 🌞 but followed by unhealthy inversion, as you say. 😷

  2. Elephant's Child January 27, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    Love that ‘lift-off’ pose – and agree with Patty (again) about the water in the second. It looks like silk.

  3. Pepe Forte January 27, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    Great pics Mia. The balance of color and detail combined with your narrative is simply extraordinary. Thanks.

  4. Bob McPherson January 27, 2017 at 8:07 am

    Beautiful images, Mia. That House Arrest is for the “Birds”.

  5. Patty Chadwick January 27, 2017 at 7:11 am

    Two great shots…the wings in the first image look like angel wings are supposed to look and the water in the seond is particularly interesting. Nice to see such healthy looking birds in winter…glad you got out of “house arrest”, at least for a little while…

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