Bird Weekly has as its topic this week Birds in Black & White (Monochrome). Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge is Anything in Flight (or capable of flight).

A couple of weeks ago, before the swans returned, my husband and I were taking a walk around our campus, and saw an interesting bird on West Pond, the larger of our two ponds. It was a group of six black & white ducks (or they seemed to be ducks), smaller than mallards, and they were diving birds, unlike mallards. They would dive and not surface for several seconds, then one by one, they’d pop up again. They reminded me of loons in that way, but I knew they weren’t loons. And also they seemed to have choreographed moves: they would swim one direction and then, all together, they would switch and go the other way. We had never seen these ducks before. I went home and searched on the Internet and concluded that they were bufflehead ducks. We grabbed our cameras with telephoto lenses and headed back to the pond.

After downloading the photos, I could see that they were indeed bufflehead ducks, which have somewhat enlarged heads, black & white with fluorescent green around their neck (which we couldn’t see in the photos – the birds were too far away). I concluded they were all males. Someone told me that they are often seen on Lake Arlington, about a mile north of here. So I guess they just decided to drop in and check out our pond! The next day, they were gone.

This was as close up as I could get with my 300mm lens. They’re so cute!
Taking flight in tandem

The great thing about these two challenges this week is that these ducks are basically black & white, so there’s no color missing in their plumage in these monochrome photos!

9 thoughts on “Buffleheads in Black & White

  1. Congrats on getting the Bufflehead. We have them here in Florida during migration. They look great in black and white. When they get their full colors in, their face is green and the ring around their neck has a purplish hue to it. Fantastic photos and yes they work well in black and white. 🙂

    1. So they were probably heading north from Florida. This is the first time I’ve ever seen them around here (northern Illinois) though. In fact, I’d never seen them before in my life! Thanks for your comment.

      1. They come in during the winter months and then migrate back up north for the rest of the year. They breed in Canada and around northern Idaho, Montana and Washington. There are a few other spots they breed as well. You were lucky to see them nearing their breeding colors. Congrats on getting a new bird! 🙂

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