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.