A Curious Bufflehead Drake

This gallery contains 2 photos. This is the famed Bufflehead drake sentry that calls Burnaby Lake home, and he takes his patrol duty very seriously — giving me a quick onceover as he swings by the floating dock. Buffleheads are gorgeous ducks which overwinter in small flocks in Metro Vancouver. They usually keep their distance from cameras, but one is often “appointed” to check out the action. If safety and food are assured, the rest of the flock joins him. At least, that’s been the behaviour of the ones I’ve observed.

The Bufflehead Drake at Burnaby Lakewell hello, gorgeous! do you know how long I have been chasing you?
f/6.3, 1/1600, 150-500mm telephoto lens, 500mm, ISO 800

There was just enough filtered sunlight on this inaugural spring afternoon to make the colours of his iridescent head visible. I have been chasing these small seaducks for a couple of winters before finally getting these closeups. Photographed at Burnaby Lake / Piper Spit on March 21.

The Bufflehead Drake at Burnaby Lake(almost) all the colours of the rainbow in that buffalo-shaped head of yours!
f/6.3, 1/1600, 150-500mm telephoto lens, 500mm, ISO 800

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20 thoughts on “A Curious Bufflehead Drake

  1. Nice one! I remember admiring a mandarin duck in Germany. My friend said it was the only one among the crowd for some reason. I wonder if we have any of those in Canada. I have never seen a Bufflehead Drake before but love the name and the coiff.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thanks, Jane!

      Mandarin Ducks are native to Asia (China, Japan, Russia). We have the odd escapee here in Vancouver, and the U.K. and parts of Europe have a few thousand. there are even some in parts of the U.S., but no wild flocks in Canada. 😦

      our colourful answer to the Mandarin Duck is its cousin, the Wood Duck.


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