The handsome male Green-winged Teal features a chestnut head with an iridescent patch that can appear to be blue or green, depending on the angle. When he holds his head just right, he also sports a spike of blue-black feathers on the back of his head.
Green-winged Teal nest across Canada and a handful of U.S. states. They are cold-hardy ducks, often the first to head north in the spring and the last to arrive south for the winter.
A young brood of Goldeneye ducklings cuddle up on a log on a small lake in western Montana. You can learn more about Barrow's Goldeneyes here at my "Wild & Free Montana" website.
Note cards of this image are available here.
Behind the lens.
This is another one of our photographs that makes people laugh out loud. There's something about "going your own way" that we all instinctively respond to. Or is it "going the wrong way" sometimes that makes us laugh at ourselves?
This was a challenging photograph that took almost two weeks to create in the manner that I thought it should be. I wanted you to feel like "one of gang" when you looked at the photograph -- and that meant getting the camera down to duckling eye level. The lens was about one-quarter inch above the water, and the tripod was completely underwater. Two of the ducklings are moving slightly during the three-second exposure, but The One is looking right at you, and you can't not look back -- even while you're laughing.