Harlequin Duck in Calm Water
Last weekend I returned to Colonel Sam Smith Park in Toronto, Ontario along Lake Ontario in an effort to locate a HADU that had been seen in the marina area. Sure enough upon arrival on the scene, a beautiful adult male HADU was swimming quite close to shore in the marina. Every winter and early spring I look forward to photographing this species somewhere along Lake Ontario. HADUs, which are an attractive sea duck are seen occasionally in this part of the country and you can usually count on the odd one or pair hanging around for part of the winter. From a photographic perspective, I usually find myself dealing with some or all of the following challenges: 1) considerable distance to subject, 2) rough waters, and 3) poor lighting conditions. Fortunately on this occasion none of these challenges were present, so I took advantage of the situation and the above photo was one of my favourties from that day.
In spring Harlequin Ducks (HADUs) begin to migrate in April into May, so it won't be long before this fella heads to his breeding grounds. The closer one is to these ducks, the more colourful and attractive the plumage appears, escpecially when the lighting is good. The photos I made on this day represented the closest looks I've had of a HADU this year and the closest I've ever been to an adult male HADU. Although considered a tame, confiding and social duck, that description doesn't apply at the southern limits of their winter range, according to Pete Dunne, and my experience in this region would tend to support that statement. HADU likes rough waters, so when I saw this male HADU in relatively calm water I took advantage of the situation.
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