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. 🙂

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12 thoughts on “Wood Duck – Filling my bucket list.

  1. Wood Duck – how can something so ornate and colorful have such a plain jane name? Why not Stained Glass Duck or Cathedral Window Duck? Those beautiful colors look almost artificial but how lovely to see the lift off! Must have given you a thrill to see that after so long a search. You and Ann did GOOD!!! hugs

    • I agree, Beth, I think they could have come up with a better name. They almost look imitation. Yes, my heart stopped when I saw that one right in front of me, after all this time of looking. Next on my bucket list is a photograph of a Pileated Woodpecker. That will be a tough one, but someday…….. 🙂

      • Mr. Bob, please head on over this way for the photo of the Pileated Woodpecker…you are more than welcome to sit on my deck with your morning/afternoon coffee and snap away.

        The Acid Rain or something is killing alot of the Pine trees around here, and the woodpeckers are everywhere…there are at least 2 and maybe 3 different types that are constantly pecking away.

        The 4 trees they seem to favor the best are about 30 feet from my rear deck.

  2. Great shots Bob!

    Congrats on the beautiful Wood Duck! This humidity is unbelievable isn’t it…I’ve never seen it like this in November before. At this rate I’m guessing it’ll be well into December before we see our first freeze this year, but the Pacific flow may bring us some unexpected visitors. Maybe you’ll be able to hit your 210 goal before the end of the year after all. 😉

    All The Best,
    Doc’ & CJ

    • Thanks so much, Doc and CJ, I appreciate your kind comments. It is cool and windy here today. Hope for a warming trend by the weekend. If I don’;t hit my goal, I am having great fun anyway. Best to you, too. 🙂

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