Thursday, 20 November 2014

Northern Pintail (Canard pilet) and Pals

Cunningham Pond
Maple, ON
20 November 2014

     Given the truly unbelievable proportions of the snowfall on Buffalo, NY over the past few days, we escaped relatively lightly. We don't share the lake effect which gives them so much precipitation, but geographically we are not far away. 
     It is still a full month until the winter solstice, but recent temperatures in our area have dipped to minus 12 Celcius and snowfall has been significant. Most small ponds are now completely frozen over and even larger areas of still water have significant ice cover.
     This was the situation at Cunningham Pond this morning. I would estimate that 90% of the surface water was frozen.
     Canada Geese Branta canadensis and Mallards Anas platyrynchos occupied the open water, with large numbers compressed into a small area.

     I scanned the flocks carefully and was rewarded when I caught the merest glimpse of a Northern Pintail Anas acuta behind a Canada Goose.

     Most of the birds were resting, with relatively little movement, so I waited patiently until a the inevitable squabbling started to occur and the birds shifted position. I got a better look.

     After a few more minutes several of the Canada Geese started to flap their wings and immerse themselves in the water and I was rewarded with a clear line on this male Northern Pintail, a bird which I have had very little success photographing in the past.

     I was happy that I had decided to wait it out.

     As might be expected many gulls were present also, including several American Herring Gulls Larus smithsonianus, recently arrived in this area.

     Ring-billed Gulls Larus delawarensis seemed to be pretty content to simply snooze on the ice.



  1. The Pintails are brilliant to catch, pure genius.

  2. Beautiful series of photographs David.
    There is already lots of snow and cold, here in the Netherlands no snow, the temperature is around 10 degrees above zero.
    Photo 3 is my favorite.

  3. Those gulls look quite comfortable sitting on the ice in the sun! Lovely to see the Pintail too.

  4. Beautiful pictures beautiful to see all those geese.
    Greetings Tinie

  5. You did well to spot that Pintail, David. So pleased to see that your patience was so well rewarded with that last image of it.

    Reading this post with its note of the temperatures over there is making me feel quite chilly! I might have to go and put another sweater on to cope with our 7 deg C here!

    Best wishes to you both - - - - Richard

  6. Great shots of the Pintail, Gulls and the Geese.. Happy weekend!

  7. Oh dear!
    That looks terribly cold to me!!
    Poor birds!
    We have spent a couple of days at Le Teich again, temperatures are above 20°C, very unusual!
    We are hoping that they come down soon and that we will have a dry and sunny winter...
    Funny, we got to "shoot" the Northern pintail too at Arcachon, a first for us! I will soon post it!
    I will have a look at your previous publications ASAP,
    In the mean time, hugs to you and Miriam!

  8. I saw on TV that when you had so much snow had fallen and it is already very cold. Here in the Netherlands the hrfst really cold but it is still far. Pictures of the geese are really nice and it is important that there wakken remain open to allow survival of these birds.