Birds and Blooms: Duck, Duck, Goose

Pa­tience and per­se­ver­ance are the keys to pho­tograph­ing these fine-feath­ered wa­ter­fowl in their nat­u­ral habi­tat

Our Canada - - Contents - By Deb­bie Re­ichelt, Portage la Prairie, Man.

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.

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