Winter Redhead Drakes in Northern Utah

Close up of a drake RedheadClose up of a drake Redhead – Nikon D300, f8, 1/500, ISO 400, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

I haven’t been having a whole lot of luck lately finding birds close enough to photograph or cooperative birds that are out in the open so I have rummaged through my archives to find photos of birds that I haven’t shared before. It seemed fitting to find some ducks to post because there are so many migrating into and through northern Utah right now plus ducks are great birds to photograph.

Redheads are diving ducks that can be found in northern Utah year round although I find that I have more difficulty locating them during the breeding season.

Redhead drakes are more colorful than the hens and I always enjoy having them in my viewfinder because of their cinnamon colored heads, their bright orange eyes and their tri-colored bills. Whenever I can get a close up of their heads I am a happy camper because I love seeing all the fine details that are visible.

The close up photo above was taken at a pond near where I live in Salt Lake County in 2014.

Redhead drake in breeding plumageRedhead drake in breeding plumage – Nikon D810, f8, 1/1250, ISO 500, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

But I also enjoy taking images of them when they are further away because I can see all of the patterns in their plumage, their shape and how they look quite lovely floating on water that has different colors on it due to reflections.

This photo and the one below were both taken at Farmington Bay WMA during the winter in 2015.

Redhead drake flapping his wingsRedhead drake flapping his wings – Nikon D810, f8, 1/2500, ISO 500, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

When this drake Redhead started flapping his wings I was ready because I had been watching him through my viewfinder. I wish his head was turned a little bit more towards me but I liked the pose I photographed him in.

I’ve only seen a few Redheads so far this fall, hopefully that will change as the temps drop and the snow begins to fall.

Life is good.



  1. LSClemens November 14, 2017 at 6:43 pm

    Mia, that closeup is fantastic! Such beautiful birds!

  2. Pepe Forte November 14, 2017 at 3:33 pm

    Oh my! That first pic of the redhead drake is a show-stopper! The detail in all of these images is exquisite and I can practically feel the movement of the water. Wonderful stuff Mia. Thanks.

  3. Elephants Child November 14, 2017 at 12:48 pm

    Beautiful things. And how lucky April’s daughter is.

  4. Patty Chadwick November 14, 2017 at 8:49 am

    Gorgeous birds!!! They are so handsome!!! You sure got lucky with this one…the detail is fantastic.

  5. April Olson November 14, 2017 at 7:23 am

    Beautiful birds. They have the same color heads as my daughter.

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