A salute to the American Coot


One of the most ignored ducks, at least around here, is the American Coot (Fulica americana).  They are everywhere, in nearly every body of water around.  So today, I thought I would give them a little press time.  I guess I ignore them, mostly because there are so many.  I would be out driving looking for photo ops.  I would see the ducks, and I would say to Ann, “Aw, them ‘er just some more coots.”, and we would just drive on, failing to appreciate them.

So on Saturday, New Years Eve day, we took a little drive thru the parks.  Since the temps here reached the 80 degree mark, there were a lot of people in attendance.   Pic-nickers, hikers, bikers, and disc golfers.  The activity was keeping most of the birds away.  But guess what?  The coots were there, not bothered at all.  They just done their thing of calmly swiming along, and occasionally diving for some morsel of some kind.  So I am ashamed to admit, I only photographed them as a last resort.

American Coot swiming

American Coot diving

American Coot swiming again

Photographed with my Canon EOS 7D.  Canon 500mm lens with 1.4 tele-converter.  Exposure:  1/2500 sec. @ f8, -0.3EV, aperture priority.  Handheld from window of my car, with Puffin’ Pad window support.

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30 thoughts on “A salute to the American Coot

  1. Nice shots, Bob.

    I’ve seen coots occasionally, but they’re not commonplace in NE Illinois or central Indiana (not like, say, Canada Geese or mallards), both of which are all over the place.

  2. Yep, Coots are everywhere…we have them here..and oh so true, we do have a tendency to overlook them..You made me feel ashamed Bob…I think I will paint some in the near future..We had them on Clear Lake in California as a kid growing up. My uncle use to call them Mud Hens. The photos are great and the water droplets are awesome..Have a great day…

  3. I have many memories of coots laughing as they ran over the matted vegetation in the bayous of Grand Haven while I was bass fishing. They provided the entertainment when fishing was slow. Nice shots!

  4. Bob,

    I actually enjoy photographing Coots because they are a challenge to expose correctly without blowing out the white bill or having too little detail in the darks. Every challenging shot can make us stronger photographers.

    Lovely images btw!

  5. Bob sound like what we all do . Ignore things that are too plentiful until we look up and see that they are about gone. Thanks for the tribute to the Coot. Long live the Coot. Carolyn

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