Thursday, May 5, 2016

Wood Ducks: Brilliant Camouflage on Wascana Lake

Wood Duck. Copyright © Shelley Banks, all rights reserved
Wood Duck on Wascana Lake, Regina, SK   © SB
I never realized how well the markings of Wood Ducks help them hide until I saw and photographed several recently on Wascana Lake.

(And yes, there are Wood Ducks in Regina, SK, and they appear to be doing very well.)

As I watched, the Wood Ducks swam along the edge of an island in the bird sanctuary, dodging deadfalls and other waterbirds.

Seen through my zoom lens, the colours of the male were brilliant and eye-catching; seen by eye against the shore, his high-contrast colouring blended with shaded roots and sunlit branches, and he easily slipped out of sight. The same happened with the female Wood Duck's soft brown, white and blue feathers when she swam across a stretch of water. Hiding in plain view — what a trick!

In all, I saw four males and one female, though there may have been more females in the group... From far away, it's difficult to distinguish a female Wood Duck from any other brown-streaked duck, and so I only counted the obvious one.    

Female Wood Duck. Copyright © Shelley Banks, all rights reserved
Female Wood Duck, colours blending into the changing shades of the water. © SB
Male Wood Duck. Copyright © Shelley Banks, all rights reserved
Male Wood Duck, hiding in plain sight again deadfalls.
(Sure, he's easy to see in a close-up - but not from a distance.)   © SB
Wood Ducks. Copyright © Shelley Banks, all rights reserved
Pair of Wood Ducks on Wascana Lake, Regina, SK.  © SB

What are these? Wood Ducks — Canard branchu
Location: Wascana Lake, Regina, Saskatchewan
Photo date: April 28, 2016.


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