Canvasbacks In Flight

Two posts prior, I expressed how lucky our community was to have Canvasbacks so close to our shorelines due to Marshy Creek’s recent freeze-over.  The Canvasbacks have continued to visit daily, but not near as close since the ice is breaking apart as it weakens and melts and Marshy Creek is beginning to open back up.

I was off this past Thursday due to the winter snow/ice storm that most of the East Coast suffered through and took on the challenge of trying to capture Canvasbacks in flight as more and more kept dropping in to the raft where Marshy Creek was opening up.  I found it not so easy, lol, the two photos I’m sharing aren’t that good.  I’ll blame it on the overcast!  But they were comical and fun to watch.

Canvasback males and females dropping into the raft

Canvasback males and females dropping into the sleeping raft

_DSC0127-2 2-13-14I kept trying but wasn’t successful.  That afternoon the sky had lightened more.  While watching them for a bit, a part of the raft was separating and began to come towards me, turning & headed to the right to pass our Osprey nest platform pole.

Canvasbacks at the base of our Osprey nest platform

Canvasbacks at the base of our Osprey nest platform

Just before the Eagle arrives

Just before the chaos….

Minutes later, the raft passing by quickly took flight.  As I was trying to lock on them, I had a flock of Mallards fly within 15 feet in front of me, scattering as fast as they could as they suddenly saw me.  (They scared me too, lol.)  With all this chaos, I quickly thought “Eagle” as I stayed on the Canvasbacks.

Canvasbacks in a frantic flight

Canvasbacks in a frantic flight

_DSC0187-2 2-13-14

Looking back to my left, a smaller raft of Canvasbacks were still in the water, moving swiftly in the same direction.  It’s not safe in the back of the raft and you can see the last were already starting to fly when I started photographing them.

Another raft of Canvasbacks moving nervously, the back already taking flight

Another raft of Canvasbacks moving nervously, the back already taking flight (there are four Ruddy Ducks in the foreground)

That triggers them all to take flight

That triggers them all to take flight

_DSC0192-4 2-13-14


I really like the next shots as the Canvasbacks turned and flew over the ice.

Over the ice

Over the ice

_DSC0201-2 2-13-14

Not sure what happened on this shot but I thought it was cool-looking in an abstract or 'trippy' way

Not sure what happened on this shot but I thought it was cool-looking in an abstract or ‘trippy’ way  🙂

So what did cause all the commotion, frightening away the waterfowl?  I spotted the Eagle flying in.

The Eagle landed on the ice very close to where the Canvasbacks were and I was lucky to see the mate join him/her.

American Bald Eagle

American Bald Eagle

Mr. and Mrs.

Mr. and Mrs. Eagle

The pair of Eagles just stood and screamed numerous times, letting all know they were there.  (I think that was already figured out.)  The pair then took flight over to Lippincott’s channel marker where they continued to let everyone know they were around.

American Bald Eagles on Lippincott's Channel Marker

American Bald Eagles on Lippincott’s Channel Marker

The pair departed thereafter in opposite directions and just as quickly I saw them both back together in the sky, one with a fresh meal dangling in its clutches.  They landed on the osprey nest platform across Marshy Creek at CBEC and enjoyed their feast.  It was hours later but the Canvasbacks did return for the evening.

All goes to show the Eagle does reign the Chesapeake Bay area’s waters!

36 thoughts on “Canvasbacks In Flight

  1. Great series of shots! Especially like the one where the Canvasbacks are just getting airborne with their ‘tracks’ on the water. I even saw some Canvasbacks on Glebe Bay Saturday afternoon (part of the South River) where some water was opening up. It’s the first time I’ve seen them in there!!

    • I love to watch ducks run on the water, it can be hilarious sometimes! I feel we’ve seen more Canvasbacks this year but I felt it was due with Marshy Creek frozen over where huge rafts of ducks love to harbor and shelter all winter.

    • Thanks Bob, we’ve been privileged with the large numbers and I’ve never gotten the opportunity to photograph them as much as this winter so I’ve really enjoyed them. Love the male’s red head! 🙂

    • Thanks Joleen! The waters are iceless now and I already miss it, it sure was beautiful, but sure don’t miss those artic temps. (None of us do!) But there’s been a variety of waterfowl, that’s a plus!

    • Why thank you so very much! I appreciate your kindness & thoughtfulness whole-heartedly but regret to say I had made a decision couple years ago to not accept any more blogger awards. I now follow so many great blogs and have so for so long, it wouldn’t be possible to try to narrow down to nominate just a few. I couldn’t take the pressure LOL! I hope you understand!! 🙂

      • Of course I understand 🙂 Thank you for taking the time to tell me. I love your blog and wanted to share it with others. Nature photography is something I want to explore as I learn more about using my camera.

    • Eagles really are great at showing off when they want to, even at each other. And with all that power in their claws, I wouldn’t want to tangle with one of them myself! LOL

    • Thanks Deb, I think I do. I have been actually watching two pairs of local Eagles from my balcony since December. One pair are long-time residents and have their nest across the water in a pine tree well off to the left of the photo of the pair on the ice above. That nest is located on the peninsula property quite often in the background of my photos & owned by the Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center (CBEC).

      This pair on the ice are the second pair. For the past month I have been watching them drop down into another pine tree that is off to the right of the ice shot and is also on CBEC’s property. I try & still cannot make out an actual nest with my binoculars but the pair definitely have me interested in knowing if I’ve found their home. Time will tell as I will keep watching that pine tree and that pair. 🙂

      BTW, neither pair likes the other. They scream and chase each other across some invisible border line that divides their two territories.

  2. Fantastic photos, I can’t believe how many of the Canvasbacks there are! Breath-taking 🙂 xx

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