Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Harlequin Duck

One of the great things about Seal Rock State Park is that you can regularly get close views of Harlequin Ducks during the winter. I suppose one reason is that it has classic Harlequin habitat; rocky coastlines with strong wave action.
While they will swim in right next to the shore, they are quite shy and make a beeline for more open water when they see you approaching. But with a little patience, I was able to get some reasonably good pictures.

The skies were clear for the first hour and a half during my visit, but then the clouds starting rolling in, cloaking the wonderful morning sunlight that the beaches enjoy. Unfortunately this was when I got my closest shots of the ducks. For some reason, I have trouble getting sharp looking pictures of males. It maybe have to the its dark coloring, but I'm not sure.
In the images above, this male is being tossed around a bit as it navigates the waves crashing in between the shore's rocks. I've noticed that both Harlequins and Surf Scoters tend to dive under water whenever it gets very rough. I'm not sure if that is to avoid the waves or if the agitated water stirs up better food harvesting opportunities.

This female caught a small green fish. Not sure what it is. I've never seen a fish quite that green.

1 comment:

  1. Wow that little green fish is awesome... Never seen anything like it! The males always look a little fuzzy in photos for me too, but I also don't ever remember seeing any on a sunny day...