Ringnecks and Redheads

March 3, 2017

A drake ring-necked duck shows off its cinnamon-colored collar, the namesake characteristic of this species.

Last week, the spring migration of ducks was dominated by northern pintails. This week, the wetlands were filled with ringnecks and redheads. In the feature image I managed to capture the cinnamon-colored collar of a drake ringneck in breeding plumage. I’ve tried for 10 years to find a drake ringneck in the right light where I could see the faint, reddish ring around its neck. As you can see, my luck changed this morning. Yes!

I continue to spend every day I can in the wetlands of east-central Missouri. Most days begin at 3:30 a.m. with a drive of two hours or less followed by a slog in my chest waders to a site that I scouted the previous day. Sometimes I take decoys, as I did for years as a duck hunter, but usually I just hope I’m in a good location and well hidden. I’ve found that I need to set up at least an hour before daylight to have any chance of getting approaches from birds such as the ones featured in this edition. Surprisingly, I find myself in complete peace when I’m sitting in the muck under a starry sky. When the sun comes up I simply think of the waterfowl as a bonus to my morning. My success always depends on how well I’m hidden. Ducks can sense anything unusual in their habitat and it doesn’t take much to spook them.


A drake redhead strikes a classic pose for the ladies.


A mated pair of redheads cruise the wetland right by my hide.


Love is in the air! A pair of ringnecks.


Pied-bill grebes have been calling this week. I call them “Hillbilly Loons.”


Another pair of redheads. Redheads are similar to canvasbacks but they don’t have the long, sloping head profile of the canvasback.


Northern shovelers are usually in the mix of whatever I’m photographing each morning.


A good look at the lovely drapery on the back of a gadwall.

All of these images came from just this morning. Some days are better than others. I’ll keep you posted as the migration continues. Until then, I’ll see you in the swamp!

Thanks for looking,

Danny Brown

Feel free to email me at:  Natureframes@Rocketmail.Com

Gallery of Images and Print Information:  www.dannybrownphotography.com

One comment on “Ringnecks and Redheads”

  1. Such lovely images, but I wonder why it’s called a Ring-neck when that’s not so obvious at all, and it takes a photographer of your calibre to capture it!

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