The Zen of Preening

I could watch Black Ducks preen for hours.

A daily avian ritual, preening helps keep feathers oiled and supple, well-aligned for flight, and free of dust and parasites.

I personally find it mesmerizing; watching as together they all stretch and bend their necks, lift wings and extend limbs as if they were in some advanced yoga class!  😉

Every single feather is tended to in a deliberate, methodical fashion, from head to tail they go.

Reaching even those hardest-to-get-to places!  😉

And the reward for all this hard work?

Finishing up with a nice cool drink!

Then it’s right back to paddling and dabbling for these plucky little ducks.

Off you go now!   😉

First Snow at Forest Beach

I couldn’t wait to get down to Forest Beach, once the flakes had stopped falling and the sun was beginning to sink in the West.

The first snow of the season is always special to me.

And just as I’d imagined, a new frost-covered landscape awaited me.

Magical and serene.

And some new friends were there as well!

I already can’t wait to get back again soon!

Black Ducks at Cockle Cove – The Rest of the Story

Some weeks ago I posted this image of three black ducks at Cockle Cove.

I titled it,  Brothers Three.

But what I didn’t share was the rest of the story.

I’d headed over to Cockle Cove marsh that day with the camera, right around sunset time.

And before I even got out of the car I could see them. A family of black ducks, paddling right toward me.

Now anyone who knows me, knows that I never get tired of photographing ducks; paddling, preening, quacking or flying, they are magical to me. I can watch for hours.

And this family was as captivating as any I’d seen.

One of them was even leaving a beautiful trail of bubbles behind in the water as he swam!

At some point, I noticed that several of them were starting to congregate.

I always love it when I can get a photograph that has some kind of interesting symmetry to it.

But, you know how it is when you’re trying to take a family group shot, right?

Someone’s always out of place, not paying attention, messing around.

I was just taking the shot when I noticed that one of them had his eyes closed.

Drats!  It was the brother in the back.

Okay guys, come one now, and I took the next shot —

No, still not quite right, it was hard to see each of them individually, the one in the back almost completely hidden from view.

Okay, let’s try this again.

Nope!  That little guy in the back had closed his eyes again.

Okay everybody, let’s give this one more shot.

Ahhh, success! Each one looked his best, and all eyes were wide open!!

I guess it pays to be a little patient.  😉