Buffleheads Taking Off

Registered: Jan 02, 2002
Total Posts: 1095
Country: United States


Canon 20D, Sigma 100-300/4, 2x and 1.4x TCs stacked at 840mm
Av, f/11, 1/800, ISO800, no comp
Resting against a dock with the lens mounted on a half-empty can of Caffiene Free Diet Coke.

My wife and I took the dog to Lake Catherine State Park, near Hot Springs, AR on Saturday. Emmett, our dog, spent half the time in the water chasing sticks, rocks, and ripples. There was a flock of 6-10 buffleheads just outside the range of my 100-300/2x, so I figured I'd try stacking my TCs just to see what I could get. I never expected anything as nice as this!

Buffleheads are small diving ducks that generally occur in small groups. They dive for aquatic insects, crustaceans, snails, and plants, but apparently fish are not a major portion of their diet. Both of these are males. Females are a bit smaller and have a thin nearly horizontal band of white plumage near their eye. There were females present with this group, but they had already skedaddled by this time (thanks Emmett). I didn't know what these were at the time (I thought they were mergansers) so I thought I'd share this new information as well as the photo.

Thanks for looking!

Registered: Mar 04, 2004
Total Posts: 11930
Country: United States

I love the "walking on water" thing that they do when they are moving toward
being airborne. Nice shot.

Registered: May 31, 2004
Total Posts: 5047
Country: United States

Very nice shot, thanks for the info too.

Registered: Jun 14, 2003
Total Posts: 48
Country: United States

These guys are also commonly referred to as "Butterballs", I don't know why though. It's tough to see from this distance, but they have beautiful coloration on their heads. Blues, purples, and greens pop out at different angles, they are also unique in the duck world with their pink feet. Nice capture of a very leary species.

Ron Warren
Registered: Mar 01, 2002
Total Posts: 6072
Country: United States

Pretty sharp for so much added length. I have never heard of these before. Neat looking duck.
By the way where does a man get one of those soft drink IS systems?

Registered: Jan 02, 2002
Total Posts: 1095
Country: United States

Ron, I found mine at a Quicky-Mart about 2 miles up the road from where this shot was taken. Don't let the shopkeep talk you into buying the whole case... you only need one can.

Registered: Feb 23, 2004
Total Posts: 40611
Country: Canada

Don't need more than 300mm if you don't have a dog with you.