The Woodies Are Here!

Yesterday’s kayak outing was very rewarding. Several new birds were seen, including some First Of Year (FOY) for me! Today’s post is about the Wood Ducks (Aix sponsa), or as us Missouri hillbillies call them, “Woodies”. These have to be one of the most colorful ducks in nature! I have been seeing the Woodies in the area for about a month now, but today was probably my best encounter of 2011.

I anchored the kayak in a cove, surrounded by limbs from Button Bush shrubs on the bank. This helped make a natural camoflauge. Birds would come and go, but after about an hour, I looked up and saw this wonderful group of Woodies heading through a channel in the water and into the cove I was sitting in. I counted 9 Woodies in this one group … quite a splash of color!

Large group of Wood Ducks

They were about 150 feet away from me, but I remained as still as possible so I wouldn’t startle them. I snapped off a few images of the large group. Then, the “leader” of the group turned and headed my way. As he made his way towards me, the rest of the group fell into place behind him. I continued to sit as still as possible, with the camera to my eye and in the “Ready” position. As they moved closer and closer, I would make an image every now-and-then, being careful not to move quickly or to make “burst shots” that might frighten the group. Luck was on my side … I managed to grab these images as the group came to within 40 feet of me:

Wood Duck drakes 


Wood Duck drake


Although they seemed to sense something was different, they continued to swim about in front of me for a couple of minutes before heading back through the channel and into the neighboring cove. Quite a thrill to see such a colorful group, especially when they come in close! 


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