Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Like Stuffed Animals

These diving birds are called buffle heads and here are so shy and wary that getting close enough to enjoy them with binoculars is a challenge.  The other day when a break in the weather came, we headed out to the nearby park that touches the shore just inside the bridge.  These were the only two birds on the glassy winter water.  They look like secret lovers, don't they?  They look as if they were stealing a mid-day tryst.  We only see them in the winter as they mate in Canada.  I want to go there someday and see the elaborate courtship displays they are known for.

I peaked through the break in the trees on a bluff overlooking this wide part of the river.  It was a dangerous game because the bluff had recently dumped its sandy edge onto the beach about 25 feet below.  Wildlife photography is challenging.  I was also carefully still, knowing if they saw me they would swim farther out and I would not catch even this grainy memory.  They are far lovelier than this photo reveals.

Both would dive tails up and then disappear for several minutes while searching for food, but returning close to where they began their dive.

Their common name fits them so well as they have these soft round heads and puffy little bodies that only the word buffle comes to mind when thinking of them. 


  1. It may be challenging, but it's infinitely rewarding - no doubt for you, but definitely for us. Thanks for the insight.

  2. It is rewarding and love your sharing - but please "be careful".
    Nothing exciting to capture at this time in the woods.

  3. You got a great picture of those two little lovers, Tabor. Isn't it fun to get a good picture of those shy little buffle heads???? Wow!!!!

  4. Nice picture! We have the buffle heads here on the north shore of Lake Ontario. I love to watch them on the waves in stormy weather, rising and falling with the swells as calmly as if they were riding a jostling subway train.

  5. I love these birds as well. We live on a lake in Arkansas and see them often in the winter. They are very shy and very active. Sometimes if the water is clear enough and the light is just right you can see them dive down. It's amazing to watch. I'll try to get some photos this winter. Nice shot, by the way.

  6. I so much enjoy your bird photos and descriptions.
    The Buffle Heads are pretty birds. I'm smiling at the thought of what you go through to get pictures :)
    Loved your essay about the falling leaves, and so many more of your posts I've read today. Thanks for sharing your thoughts....always so beautifully phrased and worded.
    We have snow and cold temps. It's very wintry here!!
    I'm glad your cold is finally better. Mine is too, thank heavens.


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