Common Goldeneye Drake With A Crayfish – We Were Both Lucky Ducks

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Drake Common Goldeneye with a crayfishDrake Common Goldeneye with a crayfish – Nikon D500, f8, , 1/1250, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

It is hard to figure out who is the lucky duck here, the Common Goldeneye for catching the crayfish or me for seeing the duck with the crayfish and photographing it. Well, unless I had my eyes glued to a phone screen it would have been hard to miss the duck because it was so close to the shoreline and to me that I had a hard time keeping the whole duck in my viewfinder.

This image is full frame and I just reduced it in size for web presentation. It would have been really easy to clip the tail of the duck because it was so close and I did in a few frames. I can’t even count how many times that golden eye is reflected in the water!

Common Goldeneye male with a crayfish in his billCommon Goldeneye male with a crayfish in his bill – Nikon D500, f8, , 1/1250, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

The duck was moving towards the left side of the frame while it had the crayfish in its bill as can be seen by the small bow wave in front of the bird. The crayfish still had its claws and unlike how Pied-billed Grebes deal with those claws by grasping them and shaking them off before swallowing the crayfish, I didn’t see the goldeneye take that step prior to consuming the crustacean.

This photo is also full frame and reduced in size for web presentation. I love the wiggly reflection of the golden eye and bright, white cheek spot in this image.

Close up view of a drake Common Goldeneye with a crayfish and lamellaeClose up view of a drake Common Goldeneye with a crayfish and lamellae – Nikon D500, f8, , 1/1250, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

I could see the lamellae in the duck’s bill through my lens and cropped in close on this image to show them. Some ducks have lamellae on their lower mandible that help the ducks to strain small animals, insects and plants out of the water and the mud. In this photo the lamellae can be seen above the head of the crayfish and in front of its legs inside the duck’s bill.

Closer view of the lamellae of a Common GoldeneyeCloser view of the lamellae of a Common Goldeneye – Nikon D500, f8, , 1/1250, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

An even tighter crop shows the bumpy protrusions of the lamellae.

The Common Goldeneye turned with it’s back to me before it swallowed the crayfish whole, I would have enjoyed getting photos of that but I am happy with what I took.

I think the Common Goldeneye gets the prize for being the lucky duck but I get one too for photographing it.

Life is good.

Mia

6 Comments

  1. Elephants Child January 8, 2018 at 12:33 pm

    And we are lucky too.
    Thank you.

  2. Kathie January 8, 2018 at 9:30 am

    Mia, these photos are amazing. And, I learned a new word today: lamallae. I did not know about them. Nice to see them as well. I feel like a lucky duck to see these photos!

  3. Patty Chadwick one of my favorite birds January 8, 2018 at 7:50 am

    A wonderful series…love rhe close up view in the last…because you froze the action, it’s possible to see detail we’d miss otherwise…

  4. Marie Read January 8, 2018 at 7:40 am

    Cool!

  5. Liz Cormack January 8, 2018 at 7:29 am

    I have seen Great Egrets, Great Blue Herons, Pied-billed Grebes & the Common Goldeneyes all turn their backs when they swallow good-sized fish or crayfish. Privacy? Great photos.

  6. Ian Holland January 8, 2018 at 7:03 am

    Everybody was lucky, except the crayfish. Great photos.

Comments are closed.