Buffleheads

6:30 AM. Sunrise at 7:00 AM. 31 degrees. Dressed in layers. Visions of the Pillsbury Doughboy or the Michelin Man.

Ducks seem to scare easily so I figure if I get out while it is still dark, I might not scare them. I move along an eastern arm of Cedar Beach Lagoon. I set up and level the tripod and lens and open my small folding chair. I sit absolutely looking for ducks. Silence.

Just a moment before sunrise, I see movement to my right in the direction my lens is pointing. I look through my camera and see two female buffleheads (our smallest duck) that weren’t there a moment before. I follow them through the lens as they swim west. The only sound is the soft clicking of the camera. Finally the two reach a point just in front of me and I can’t swing the camera more without moving the tripod. I slowly look left. There are dozens of buffleheads on the water to my left. Do I dare to try to move the tripod to photograph them. I left one tripod leg a quarter of an inch. Every one of the buffleheads take flight at the same instant and they are all gone.

Silence again.

But I did get a shot of a female bufflehead that morning, and the next day I set up further west, didn’t try to move my tripod, and got a nice shot of a male and two birds in flight. By the way, the male’s magenta and green head looks black from a distance.

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