Honey, want to go find a retention pond with me? – Jess
What bird is there? – Rich
Buffleheads are fairly rare birds in Florida in winter, and I’ve only ever seen a couple of females. I’d never seen a male. A flock of Buffleheads regularly winters in a retention pond near the house, so Rich and I took a little drive. And we found…
Yep, that’s a male Bufflehead! The bird in the front is a male. The bird above him appears to be a juvenile molting into male plumage. The other three are females. How cool to see so many Buffleheads together!
The male is so pretty. His black face shimmers with green and red when the sun hits him. This was my first glimpse of him, way across the pond. Then he and his friends got a little spooked. There was a family outside playing with their brand-new Christmas kite. Each time the kite would soar in the air, the birds would spook. I got lots of flight shot opportunities in the seven minutes that I got to photograph before the flock took off for good.
I’ve returned to that pond four times since that day. Each time I’ve hoped to see the male Bufflehead again, hopefully in sunlight and a little closer. But each time that I’ve gone, the pond has either been empty or there were just a few females.
The females are cute, just not as showy as the males. This one made me lie on the bank of the pond for at least an hour before she came anywhere near me. Silly bird.
Buffleheads are significantly smaller than some of the other ducks they hang out with, like Lesser Scaups and Hooded Mergansers. When this female did a wing-flip, she looked so tiny and cute!
I’ve been getting a lot of use out of my 2X teleconverter this winter. The ducks are so skittish!
Here’s one more of the male with his “landing gear” down. Maybe if I keep visiting the pond, I’ll see him again. Hopefully!