Wonderful Widgeons

Remember last year, when we got to see some American Widgeons, but the weather was too gloomy for us to see their glorious green heads? This year has been rather kinder. Lookit what I got!

Photo is a male and female pair of American Widgeons, standing side-by-side. They're roughly the same size. The female is mottled brown. The male has a green stripe through a brown head. The brown shades into a light tan on its rear half. The pin feathers are dark.
A pretty pair.

A whole group of them were feeding among the ducks on a sunny day. They’re rather beautiful and elegant, and step lightly as they go.

Two male and two female American Widgeons feed on the grassy bank while a mallard sleeps in their midst.
The lunch crowd.

The full set of photos is here, and will be a boon to you if you love looking at widgeon butts. For some reason, they spent a lot of time with their backs to me, and since their plumage is just as neato from behind, I was all like, “Fine, then, I’ll shoot your butt.” It’s a theme this year, apparently.

A female and male pair have their backs to the camera. The female has her head down, feeding. The male has glanced up, and we have his head in profile, with the sun bringing out the brilliant green stripe along his eye and down his head. Their tails are short and tapered.
They’re very pointy.

The head feathers only gleam green when the light hits ’em right. Otherwise, they just look dark. Feathers can do all sorts of fascinating tricks with light and color. I loves them.

Profile of the male with its head down, feeding. The green stripe looks black. There is a bright white spot at the top of its wing.
Side view.

After they’d had a bit to eat, they flew down to the creek for a good swim.

Photo shows a male widgeon in flight, white patches vivid on its outstretched wings. It's coming in for a landing on the creek, where there's already another widgeon swimming.

The wing markings are so Air Force to me.

Then they went sailing gently down the stream, and of course I filmed them, because they are graceful in the water and I loves it. One looks like he’s talking, but there’s no sound other than wind and motor in the raw footage, so I gave you some music instead.

Next year, when they return, I’ll settle in on the bank and get even better shots of them. How lovely will that be?

Wonderful Widgeons

5 thoughts on “Wonderful Widgeons

  1. 2

    Fine shots, Dana! These and the Ring-necked Ducks are our most common winter ducks in the Phoenix area. They’ve mostly departed by now, so maybe these guys are bringing you some Arizona sunshine. I photograph American Wigeon a lot because, well, there they are. It doesn’t hurt that they’re such beautiful birds.

  2. 5

    Nice pics! Nice ducks and tricks of feathers and light are reminiscent of the swift (?) I saw today skimming millimetres (if even that) off the grass at the campus oval – black turned irridescent blue in a literal flash.

    Totally off topic, sorry, hope you don’t mind – my apologies and feel free to edit or delete if you do – but thought you might like to know today is my fave non-public holiday – World Tapir Day :


    April 27th always is.

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