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Fitness and Photography for Fun - A blog on staying fit by hiking and doing photography by David Mendosa

A Mandarin Duck

December 22nd, 2012 · 5 Comments

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This morning since I couldn’t decide whether to hike to Bobolink Trail along South Boulder Creek or along Clear Creek, 25 miles from here in Jefferson County, I hiked both. Even though the temperature was below freezing, that wasn’t my concern. I wanted sun and the prediction was for clouds. But after I answered my email this morning, I looked out and saw what I was looking for. Immediately, I hit the road and then the trail.

Since I didn’t expect the sun to last, I headed for the Bobolink Trail, which is just three miles northeast of my apartment. But like all the streams, lakes, and reservoirs that I’ve visited recently in Boulder County, it was frozen over. I saw only a couple of blackbirds.

So I headed to the section of Clear Creek that flows through Prospect Park in Wheat Ridge. The creek is so wide and so swift that no ice has formed on it. Instead, it was covered with ducks.

Almost all of the ducks were Mallards. But among them, I spotted one male Mandarin Duck. I couldn’t have hoped for anything more.

I had seen a Mandarin Duck along the same stretch of Clear Creek on April 30, 2011, and my guess is that the same guy had returned after a long flight elsewhere. That day a year and one-half ago I got off only 166 shots of this colorful bird before clouds rolled in and spoiled the view. Today I managed to capture 1,348 images in the 51 minutes that the Mandarin and I were together. I also had better light today and a little more experience. Consequently, today’s shots were a bit better.

The Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata) Looks Proud (Canon 7D with 100-400mm lens at 310mm, f/8, 1/1000, ISO 800, -0.5 EV)

The Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata) Looks Proud (Canon 7D with 100-400mm lens at 310mm, f/8, 1/1000, ISO 800, -0.5 EV)

Click on the picture above to enlarge

Sailing down the Stream with the Neck Extended (Canon 7D with 100-400mm lens at 400mm, f/8, 1/1000, ISO 800, -0.5 EV)

Sailing down the Stream with the Neck Extended (Canon 7D with 100-400mm lens at 400mm, f/8, 1/1000, ISO 800, -0.5 EV)

Click on the picture above to enlarge
Shore Rest (Canon 7D with 100-400mm lens at 400mm, f/8, 1/1000, ISO 800, -0.5 EV)

Shore Rest (Canon 7D with 100-400mm lens at 400mm, f/8, 1/1000, ISO 800, -0.5 EV)

Click on the picture above to enlarge
Reflected Mandarin (Canon 7D with 100-400mm lens at 400mm, f/8, 1/750, ISO 800, -0.5 EV)

Reflected Mandarin (Canon 7D with 100-400mm lens at 400mm, f/8, 1/750, ISO 800, -0.5 EV)

Click on the picture above to enlarge

Mandarin Ducks are closely related to Wood Ducks, which are beautiful too. But in full plumage, as this guy was, a male Mandarin is the most beautiful of all ducks. They are uncommon and near threatened or of special concern, because of certain people, including loggers, hunters, and poachers. Fortunately, they don’t taste good to us, so we don’t hunt them for food. Some of us, however, do hunt them with cameras.

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Posted in: Photography

5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Gretchen // Dec 23, 2012 at 11:34 am

    Looks to me as if this duck could use some Byetta. Seriously, how do you find time to sort through 1348 photos?

  • 2 David Mendosa // Dec 23, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    Dear Gretchen,

    Taking the 1348 photos in 51 minutes was an absolute pleasure. Sorting through them took five or six hours of sitting at my computer and was a chore. The first pass eliminated all by 365 of them, but I liked that remainder so much that having to select the four to show to you and others was a real pain.

    Namaste,

    David

  • 3 Marv // Jan 1, 2013 at 10:15 am

    Thanks for taking the time @ sharing. Have enjoyed your articles since you started & now your photography. Thanks so much!
    Marv Brown

  • 4 Bob G // Jan 2, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    I wonder what Ansel Adams would have done with this bird? LOL

  • 5 David Mendosa // Jan 3, 2013 at 10:37 am

    Dear Bob,

    Ansel Adams would probably ignore the Mandarin Duck since it’s so colorful! While he was the greatest black-and-white photographer, I rather think that a black-and-white photo of this bird would be a big disappointment to you, to me, and to Ansel!

    Namaste,

    David

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