Purple Headed Mallard

Purple Headed Mallard

In the animal world there are as many variations in a specific species as there are colors in the rainbow. Every once in a while we all come across one that is at once a curiosity and a variant. Such is the case with a Mallard I spotted January 27, 2022 at 0630 just as the Sun was rising.

Purple headed Mallard

When I saw him for the first time I thought it was a play with the Sunlight on a normally Green head. However after a short investigation I have found during courting some Males heads will turn from green to this purple color. During mating the head will then turn black while the eggs are incubating.

I posted an image of the bird on a birding web sight and labeled it “The Great White Fronted Purple Headed Duck.” Nice name but there is no such critter, however after being called out I corrected the post heading. I thought I was being funny but I wasn’t so much I suppose, I left the site but not for just that incident.

The Female Mallard was near to this Male, they however rarely make a spectacle of themselves as the Males will. They have one of the most barbarian mating patterns in the Water Bird kingdom. The details are gruesome in what amounts to a gang attack of between 3 and 20 or more males and one female, yes enough said. In the occasion you see two or more Males flying behind one Female; that’s what’s going on.

Neither do they keep the same partners from one season to the next, it’s basically a solo act for the Female. The Male will stick around until the newborn are out of the egg but that’s the extent of it. He’s out of Dodge after that, the next time he will be around a Female will be one year from now. The nest may be established in the same spot.

They are in a huge hurry to complete this process so they can once again go along their merry way. I haven’t seen much of the Purple Headed Guy up close but from a distance he is easy to spot. But it’s tough to photograph them, those in this blog started in the water which makes them easier to track resulting in the chance for more good quality photos.

None of these images have been edited a great deal, I did crop them which works well for a blog but not for entry into a contest. In cropping my goal is to make seeing the subject easier for the viewer after all that’s what pictures are all about. There are three things I attempt to capture in each one, 1: Tap into an emotion, I observed many photographs every week and I am able to feel when a picture strikes a “nerve” (emotion). 2) I make the photo recognizable, “What am I looking at.” comments are the kiss of death for an image 3) I make every attempt to choose those that tell a story, then I add to it using brief paragraphs under the image.

I had a harder time getting the Purple head to show up on the pictures taken of the Mallard on the water. That I believe is where the Sunlight meets the Morning Dew and shadows to combine in one result the Purple Head.

Many times I will take photos of a bird as I did with the Purple Headed Mallard having the intent to take a few today to make setting the camera tomorrow a bit easier. This was my intent while taking these photos, but it didn’t work out for me as the Purple Headed Goose has not approached near enough to sit for another session.

Jacques Lebec Natural Self Reliance

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