Birds and Blooms: Duck, Duck, Goose
Patience and perseverance are the keys to photographing these fine-feathered waterfowl in their natural habitat
This popular department returns with some very photogenic waterfowl!
Nestled in the heart of my hometown of Portage la Prairie, Man., and flanking our beautiful Island Park, is an often- overlooked wetland known as Crescent Lake. This little oxbow lake attracts a variety of waterfowl species such as pelicans, plovers, grebes, plus the occasional swan. However, it is the colourful mallard ducks and the oodles of Canada geese which descend on the water every year that provide me with a ready source of wild birds to photograph.
The ducks and geese are indeed most photogenic when they sport their breeding plumage and, of course, when they have recently been hatched. Due to our very short Manitoban springs and summers, however, there is only a small window of opportunity to take pictures of the fluffy chicks before they grow out their adult feathers. None-
theless, I find that these birds’ adorable and comical poses beg to be captured at every stage of their humble duck and goose lives.
I make it my goal to take photos at Crescent Lake at least one day a week during the peak seasons. My photographic adventures begin in spring when the ducks first arrive to nest in the cattails. I finish shooting in late fall when the last goose has flown to warmer climes for the winter.
Patience and quietude are a must when photographing wild birds. I prefer to keep a healthy distance from these beautiful— but very wild— creatures. Nursing a bruise on your posterior from a defensive father goose is not anyone’s idea of a noble war wound, so I consider myself very fortunate to own a good camera with a built-in digital zoom. My type of camera may be considered obsolete technology by now, but it suits my needs just fine.
If you happen to stop into Portage la Prairie during your travels, please make an effort to visit our lovely Crescent Lake. You just may see a tiny woman aiming her camera towards the many wild ducks and geese congregated on the shore. And, yes, that camera lady would probably be me.
A momma duck keeps her brood in line. Top left: a couple of snoozing Canada geese; Bottom left: a flock of fluffy baby geese.