Wood Duck – Filling my bucket list.


I think every bird photographer has a certain hard-to-get bird on his or her ‘bucket list’.  A bird that has escaped every effort made to get a photograph of it, or even see.  Mine was the elusive Wood Duck.  In all of my eight years of birding, I had only seen one, and it was a lone female on a very rainy day and the bird wasn’t that attractive.  I wanted an adult male in it’s bright colors.  Well, I finally got the chance.

We were out at Middle Concho Park driving through.  Off to my left, far across the disc golf course, I saw the head of a goose pop up along the near shoreline.  At about 150 yards, I couldn’t make out any details.  So what to do.  I drive across the golf course, of course.  Upon arriving, I can see that the goose was a some domestic breed and I started to drive away.  At that moment, some Mallards moved out from the shore, and lo and behold, lagging a bit behind them was this beautiful male Wood Duck.

I immediately pulled along parallel to the shoreline so I could snap photos.  I snapped a couple of long distance shots of the Wood Duck.  It started to move a bit closer but still moving the same direction.  It fell in among the Mallards, but within seconds it took flight.  I was quick with my shutter and got off several photos.  Here are three of them.

Wood Duck

Wood Duck

Wood Duck and female Mallard

Wood Duck and female Mallard

Wood Duck lifting off.

Wood Duck lifting off.

What great fun that was!  But there were more birds to see and photograph.  We were surprised to see much activity, as the weather was cool and windy with a threat of showers.  We continued on and we saw a huge flock of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks.  They were milling around, also near that disc golf course.  Here is a likely pair.

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks.

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks.

An Eastern Bluebird didn’t mind the dreary weather.

female Eastern Bluebird

female Eastern Bluebird

All of that happened yesterday, Sunday November 15.  Today, the 16th we decided to press our luck again.  The winds were much higher, but the temperature was mild.  Very overcast.  Again, not much activity, but enough to keep us interested.

This Great Egret was content to just sit in the tree and stay away from the water.

Great Egret

Great Egret

This Great Blue Heron wasn’t in the mood to fish, and just decided to just stand and look beautiful.  The cloudy overcast brought out his nice blue and gray colors.

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Finally, we decided to call it a day, but not before we spotted this Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, a first of the year for us.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

That gives us 181 sightings for our 2015 Big Year list.  Far below our goal of 210, but we still have over a month to go. 🙂