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Old Jan 24, 2011, 8:56 PM   #1
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Default Bufflehead colors

Male Buffleheads usually appear completely black and white. These photographs, taken with the Sony alpha 55 and Minolta 500mm AF lens, show another aspect of the plumage - iridescent colors that reflect from the head when the light is right. Difficult to see in the field with the naked eye, the a55's sensor recorded these perfectly. Some minor adjustments in postprocessing, but no color manipulation whatsoever.

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Old Jan 24, 2011, 9:18 PM   #2
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Very nice, I had a similar opportunity a while back and was equally surprised at the colors brought about by the sun reflecting off the feathers at the right angel. Nature's wonders never cease to amaze.

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Old Jan 26, 2011, 8:11 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by penolta View Post
Male Buffleheads usually appear completely black and white. These photographs, taken with the Sony alpha 55 and Minolta 500mm AF lens, show another aspect of the plumage - iridescent colors that reflect from the head when the light is right. Difficult to see in the field with the naked eye, the a55's sensor recorded these perfectly. Some minor adjustments in postprocessing, but no color manipulation whatsoever.

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Attachment 170197

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Attachment 170198

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Attachment 170200


Penolta,

Always wonder how, why these colours developed through the ages. Of course I'm familiar with the basics of Darwinism (impresssing the females) but ..... Any specifics?

//T
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Old Jan 27, 2011, 9:15 PM   #4
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Thanks, Steve.

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Penolta,

Always wonder how, why these colours developed through the ages. Of course I'm familiar with the basics of Darwinism (impresssing the females) but ..... Any specifics?

//T
One always assumes when there is sexual dimorphism in plumages that it is intended to attract the opposite sex. I have never seen active courtship in Buffleheads (they don't breed around here), so I don't know how they might use the colors, which are not mentioned in the field guides (males are described only as "glossy black", so I assume the colors are not often seen).
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Old Jan 27, 2011, 10:41 PM   #5
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I've seen the blue-green on there heads several times, but never the red - purples very nice capture!
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Old Jan 28, 2011, 10:55 PM   #6
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nicely done, Penolta! i've seen - and photographed - this iridescence numerous times. buffleheads are quite common here in the winter, and with the low angle of sunlight we get this time of year, it's easy enough to capture the colors. the hard part is getting close enough to them to see it, since from any distance more than about 30 yards, they appear just black and white.
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Old Jan 30, 2011, 12:41 PM   #7
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Thanks Kevin and Rocky for stopping by and commenting.
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Old Jan 31, 2011, 9:51 PM   #8
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Great photos Penolta. I've never seen that iridescence before and you captured it beautifully.

All our migratory birds left northern New England several months ago, and it'll be about 2 more months before the first spring arrivals show up. It's 10 below zero (Fahrenheit) where I am, and the snowstorm that is hammering the midwest right now is supposed to hit us tomorrow. I'm feeling a strong urge to head to a warm climate for about a week, and photograph some waterfowl. Maybe I should look into airfare to Florida!
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Old Feb 4, 2011, 8:52 PM   #9
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Great photos Penolta. I've never seen that iridescence before and you captured it beautifully.

Maybe I should look into airfare to Florida!
I'm in California (both places are great for birds in winter), but the way things have been going this winter, I doubt you could get a flight to either place!

Thanks for the kind words.
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