Drake Common Goldeneye being chased by another drake, Salt Lake County, UtahDrake Common Goldeneye being chased by another drake – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1600, ISO 320, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Yesterday afternoon I was thrilled to be able to photograph two adult drake Common Goldeneyes in a territorial dispute on a pond as they moved across my field of view. I had only seen one drake so seeing the second male Common Goldeneye came as a surprise to me. My first indication that there was a second male was when the first one started moving quickly over the water.

Male Common Goldeneye running on water, Salt Lake County, UtahMale Common Goldeneye running on water – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1600, ISO 320, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

One of the drake Common Goldeneyes ran on the water for a bit and then started to slow down by using his feet, tail and wings.

I liked how the male goldeneye was looking over the top of his wing in this frame and how he was just beginning to put his second foot down to slow his movement on the water.

Drake Common Goldeneye skidding across the surface of a pond, Salt Lake County, UtahDrake Common Goldeneye skidding across the surface of a pond – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1600, ISO 320, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Two frames later both of the feet of the drake were on the water, the wing he had been looking over was raised high enough to show his face and the front of his webbed feet were raised to help him slow down.

Common Goldeneye drake sliding across the surface of a pond, Salt Lake County, UtahCommon Goldeneye drake sliding across the surface of a pond – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1600, ISO 320, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Then the Common Goldeneye drake leaned forward, lowered both wings and slid across the surface of the pond which caused the water to splash in front and behind him.

Common Goldeneye drake at the end of a chase, Salt Lake County, UtahCommon Goldeneye drake at the end of a chase – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1600, ISO 320, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

At the end of the chase a large bow wave developed around the male goldeneye that seemingly swallowed up everything but the head of the drake. My shutter speed was fast enough to “freeze” the large bow wave.

I believe this might be the largest bow wave I’ve ever photographed along with a Common Goldeneye.

Intruding male Common Goldeneye moving quickly away from being chased off, Salt Lake County, UtahIntruding male Common Goldeneye moving quickly away from being chased off – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/2000, ISO 320, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

The intruding Common Goldeneye drake took off again and moved very quickly away from the victor of the brief but action packed chase.

During this territorial dispute and chase I moved my lens back and forth between the two drakes so that I would get images of both of them. That may not have been the best course to take but I am glad that I decided to do it.

Drake Common Goldeneye wing flap after chasing away an intruder, Salt Lake County, UtahDrake Common Goldeneye wing flap after chasing away an intruder – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/2000, ISO 320, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

The Common Goldeneye that chased off the intruding male slowed his movements at the end of the chase and then proceeded to flap his wings. I can’t be sure that his wing flap signaled his “victory” over the other male but it sure seemed like that to me.

This skirmish between the two male Common Goldeneye only took about 14 seconds. I’m glad that I was paying attention to the birds in front of me, that I was mostly able to keep up with them and that I have some photos that show the action I saw through my viewfinder.

Life is good.

Mia

My server seems to be having hiccups this morning, hopefully that will be resolved soon. If things look weird, please refresh your browser or come back later.