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A ducking good session.

August 27th, 2010

While I was on holidays in July, I had the privilege of spending some time at my favorite roadside pond (again) and not just once, but on many occasions. It is rather strange that totally wild waterbirds would pretty much disregard me even though I am well within their normal comfort zone. Chestnut Teals are arguably one of the more spectacular species of our ducks in the Sydney basin. Their rich brown plumage with the shiny, almost electric green, head and those magical red eyes make me shiver with excitement at every encounter. They indeed are ducks of the highest order as far as the beauty scale is concerned.

The female looks plain, yet she is still gorgeous.

I observed these stunning Chestnut Teals on this rather small pond quite a few times in successive sessions over the previous couple of weeks and as always, they were slowly working their way across the small waterhole from side to side, edge to edge. What they were looking for in particular were the aquatic plant matter that thrives in this little pool of water. As usual, I stayed quietly in the same spot on the east side to ensure I get as much sun shining from behind me as possible so that I get the nice morning light for the birds. The approach was pretty normal, a low, crouching stance was needed to not cause alarm and the rest is history. Soon, I had them less than 15m away from me.

A male; strangely this male does not have the brilliant green hood found on most other specimens.

An immature Chestnut Teal preening.

A truly wild, yet close encounter. As they fed and fed, their plumage was getting a little damp and a good preen was all they needed. One by one, they hopped on the far bank and began the preening process. A bit on the back, get the oil from the gland, then preen the wings, breast and belly feathers. A beautiful and serene sight I was privileged to witness first hand. Hope you enjoy these few images.

Don’t forget to click on the images to see them larger.

Nature Photography

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