The last couple of times I have gone out to photograph have been slow bird wise so I dug back into my archives for photos to share this morning, back to the last day of 2017 to be more precise.
Drake Common Goldeneye flapping his wings – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1600, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
I’m on the road a lot during the year to search for birds to photograph, I get up very early in the morning, head out before the sun is even close to rising with my coffee in a travel mug hurrying to get to my location for the best light right after sunrise. That means a lot of hours spent on the road to and from the locations I go to when I am looking for birds. During the winter I have another option, photographing birds on a pond close to home and I really enjoy that.
Winter brings geese, coots, gulls, grebes, a few raptors and ducks to my local pond, I can be there in less than five minutes and home in that amount of time too.
I only see Common Goldeneyes in northern Utah during their nonbreeding season because they breed well north of here so I get a touch excited when they show up at my local pond.
Common Goldeneye drake on the last day of 2017 – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1600, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
The Common Goldeneye drakes are pretty flashy with their black and white bodies, white spots on their cheeks, iridescent green head feathers and bright yellow eyes.
Drake Common Goldeneye gliding by on a winter day – Nikon D500, f6.3, 1/800, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
It is wonderful to be able to head down to the pond here in the winter, photograph birds and to be back home in minutes especially when there are such handsome birds to be found so close to home.
Life is good.
Common Goldeneye facts and information:
- Common Goldeneyes are medium sized diving ducks with large heads with small, narrow bills. Males in breeding plumage are black and white with round white spots near their bills, bright yellow eyes and greenish heads, females have brown heads, bills with a yellow tip and gray backs and wings.
- Common Goldeneyes are migratory. They breed in northern regions of the U.S., Canada as well as Alaska and spend their winters along the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf coasts along with inland lakes and rivers.
- Common Goldeneyes breed in boreal forests near lakes and rivers.
- Common Goldeneyes eat aquatic invertebrates, crustaceans, fish, fish eggs, mollusks, insects, insect larvae, seeds and tubers.
- Common Goldeneyes lay 5 to 19 eggs which hatch in 28 to 32 days. Females incubate and they are monogamous.
- A group of ducks can be called a “raft”, “paddling”, “flush” or “brace” of ducks.
- Common Goldeneyes can live to be about 20 years old.