Quest (almost) Completed

Years ago I worked with a bunch of duck hunters.  One day one of them mentioned Wood Ducks to me, and described their appearance (this was long before the internet and Wikipedia).  I decided then and there that I was going to get some photographs of some, and asked where I could find them in this area.  I was told that they were all over the place; ponds, lakes, anything with water.  So off I set with my little camera, weekend after weekend, with never a Wood Duck to be found.

Fast forward to 2010.  That would be nearly 35 (that’s thirty five!) years later and I still haven’t seen a wood duck.  While walking around Radnor Lake with my camera one day a man asked if I had seen anything worth photographing.  I told him that I hadn’t and he said, “I haven’t either.  Just a pair of Wood Ducks up the lake a bit.”  I said, “Uh, did you say Wood Ducks???” and he said, “Sure.  Want me to show you where they are?”  I said that I certainly did and he pointed them out to me.  About 200 yards away and me with a little 300mm lens.

OK, at least I can finally say I have seen some Wood Ducks but I’d sure like to see some a bit closer than a mile away.

Fast forward a bit more to August, 2011.  I went to an outing with some people from my office today, and was lazily floating around on Center Hill Lake on a pontoon boat.  Some ducks came up close to the boat and one of the guys started feeding them some crackers which brought them even closer.  I looked at them and saw brown feathers and said, “Just a bunch of Mallards …” since this area is covered with Mallards and this time of year both the hens and drakes are brown.  Then I figured what the heck I’ll shoot a couple of photos of them anyway.  When I looked I saw that bright orange eye and said to myself, “Uh, those aren’t Mallards, those are Wood Ducks!”

So I’m getting closer!  All I have to do now is find them in spring plumage and I’ll have completed a 35+ year quest.

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