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Old Jan 16, 2010, 8:58 PM   #1
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Default A BIG raft of ducks

Out here at Dead Horse Bay, off of Floyd Bennet Field, the Scaups come in to the protected waters to shelter from the Winter. Colder the Winter, more Scaups.

Well this year, there's a "raft of about ten thousand ducks. in Dead Horse Bay, and thanks to Chato, they will come up to take a closer look.

I haven't done any wildlife shooting since October, but I was given a a three day weekend, and went out there to shoot.

The first two pictures are of this gigantic raft, and even with the relatively wide angle of the Sigma, I can't capture the whole scene. I would guestimate something like ten thousand ducks. I have seen more off the Belt Parkway, near the Bay Parkway exit, but those were in a dozen "rafts." This is the largest single raft I have ever seen.





The following shots are only relative close-ups, shot with the Swarovski. I was too cold and too tired to have the patience for them to get really close. These ducks have the proverbial curiosity of a cat, and Chato's antics draw them from a two hundred yards to (in this case) two hundred feet.

If I had the patience they will come as close as thirty feet from shore, just to look at Chato.









Dave
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Old Jan 16, 2010, 9:35 PM   #2
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Nice work Dave, thanks for sharing with us.
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Old Jan 16, 2010, 9:37 PM   #3
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Dang! That's a lotta ducks! There is a lake at the prison where we do ministry and it's covered with Canada geese and coots. Hopefully, they'll still be in the area this Friday so I can get some shots during the day.

Nice shootin'!
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Old Jan 16, 2010, 9:54 PM   #4
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Were these taken today?
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Old Jan 17, 2010, 10:40 AM   #5
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Were these taken today?
Yes, early Saturday morning. However, they will be there everyday until late March or early April, although the raft may shrink or grow according to temperature.

This is the last entrance to Floyd Bennet, just before the Bridge. As soon as you enter you will pass a Ranger Station, and you can park there and walk back across the street. There is a grassy path, which divides into three paths. The extreme right path will take you to Dead Horse Bay.

Aside from Scaups, there are always Horned Grebes that seem to hang out with them. They were there yesterday, but way to far out for a shot.

Horned Grebes, Red Throated, Common Loons and Buffle Head Ducks can be shot on the other side of Floyd Bennet where there used to be the model airplane field.

(Floyd Bennet also has, March Hawks, Red Tailed, Broadwinged, Rough Legged, Sharpshined hawks, Kestrels, Perigrines as well as others.)

But the best place to shoot these birds, along with Red Breasted Mergansers is Plum Beach. You walk until you get to the Gerritsen Bay outlet (about 3/4 of a mile). Unfortunately for me, during the Winter I don't have my own car, and have to use the company truck, which has commerical plates - So I can't go to Plum Beach...

NB. Fair warning, these stinking ducks are actually very timid. In order to get them close, I found that some sort of weird behavior is necessary to arouse their curiosity. In my case, it's the antics of Chato that do it. Here's a shot from last year, when I wasn't as tired and had more patience...





Dave

Last edited by Chato; Jan 17, 2010 at 10:48 AM. Reason: added pictures
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Old Jan 17, 2010, 10:51 PM   #6
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Way to go, nice captures.
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Old Jan 18, 2010, 6:00 AM   #7
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That's a LOT of ducks!! Great photos, and great illustration of how much nature there really is in the urban environment. Thanks for the photos and the education!
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Old Jan 18, 2010, 8:41 AM   #8
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wow plenty there, nice captures
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Old Jan 18, 2010, 2:00 PM   #9
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That's a LOT of ducks!! Great photos, and great illustration of how much nature there really is in the urban environment. Thanks for the photos and the education!
They are a lot of ducks and I find it sooooo peculiar that suspicious and timid as they are, they will paddle over to watch the antics of my urban wolf. None of the other species of Duck or Goose will do this.

Chato had an explosive thirty foot reach, and while he's too old now, a few years ago, he (if not me) could have had a nice duck dinner. But he likes birds...

Next time I go, I'm going to start hopping around and acting the fool, and see if they will be attracted to me. Somehow I don't think it will work.

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