A first winter Common Goldeneye male

First winter Male Common Goldeneye in an icy pondFirst winter Male Common Goldeneye in an icy pond – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1250, ISO 500, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

Common Goldeneyes are diving sea ducks that over winter in the Salt Lake Valley where I see and photograph them at Bear River National Wildlife Refuge, along the causeway to Antelope Island State Park and at Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area.  I photographed this first winter male Common Goldeneye a few days ago at Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area. By next winter; if he survives that long, he will have his full adult plumage.

The snow on the ground and the Phragmites reflected on the water is what created the delightful patterns around the Goldeneye.

Common Goldeneyes are cavity nesting ducks and I have seen them nesting in cavities on rocky cliffs in southwestern Montana. I admit it does look a bit strange to me to see a duck flying right towards a cliff wall to land and perch on  top of rocks.  They breed in the northern U.S. and in Canada.

Male Common Goldeneye partially submergedMale Common Goldeneye partially submerged – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1250, ISO 500, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

This image and the following one were taken as the Common Goldeneye came up from a dive, I like how the water covers the duck and how the head has a sheet of water over it. That golden eye certainly stands out well.

Common Goldeneye popping up from a diveCommon Goldeneye popping up from a dive – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1250, ISO 500, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

This frame, taken immediately after the one above shows how quickly the water is shed off of the ducks head.

Common Goldeneyes are also found in Scandinavia and Russia and are also found in Scotland and Britain, fortunately we don’t have to travel that far to see and photograph them!

Mia

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