Anas strepera – GADWALL,  the dabbling social ducks.

 

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The more I take photos of ducks in flight, the more I learn how to use my camera for this type photography.  This is my favorite style and type of photography due to the fact that it can be so challenging.  Learning to lead the bird in the lens and keep it in focus at the same time will test your skills.

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Taking photos of the Gadwall gives me alot of practice.  If you are not familiar with this species of waterfowl,  then let me tell you a little bit about them. Eventhough these ducks are not the most beautiful they are still a very special and interesting duck.

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The Gadwall lacks the beautiful colors to their feathers as most ducks.  In size they are a medium to large duck, close to the same size as their running buddies the Mallard. Female Gadwall are easily mistaken for a female Mallard Suzie due to size and color.  The white wing patches are a field mark of the Gadwall.

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These are just a few photos of the Gadwall I took when they were landing on a pond in front of me

Panning and tracking a bird in flight takes practice and a knack of keeping the duck in the lens and in focus all at the same time.

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Practice makes perfect and if you are lucky enough to catch them landing it will test your skills. Staying hid and out of sight of them so they do not know you are there is a challenge within it’s self. If you look up and they see your face they will not land. They are very cautious and will circle for sometime before deciding to land.

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When you see that they are coming in for a landing, lock your focus on the bird immediately and use continuous focus as you lead the bird in your lens.

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Cupped up and putting on their brakes in midair for a landing, you can see the white wing patch on the backside of the wing.

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Gadwall are beautiful and so much enjoyment just to set and watch while they feed on vegetation off of the bottom of lakes and ponds.  Often they steal food from diving ducks such as Mallards.

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Another tip is to allways be aware of where the sun is. You always want the sun to your back or side for the best results.

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A cloudy overcast day is ideal for this type of photograpy.  Although the golden hours, one hour at sunrise and one hour at sunset are the very best,  you  can get some awesome colors reflecting on the water at these times of day.

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The Gadwall is a short distance migratory bird and in some areas may not migrate at all.

To read more about the Gadwall visit WIKITPEDIA

To read more about taking photos of ducks in flight visit tips for photographing ducks in flight on With Me Photography Blog.  Richard Keller has some great tips for you.

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