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Long-tailed Duck Family

Long-tailed Duck Family
Photo Information
Copyright: Harry Eggens (Proframe) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 549 W: 183 N: 1069] (4096)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2007-03-20
Categories: Birds
Camera: Nikon D2X, Nikon 500mm AF-S F4.0, Nikon L37c UV filter
Exposure: f/11, 1/1600 seconds
Details: Tripod: Yes
Map: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Pankaj Bajpai's Favourite, Birds in Flight, CeltickRanger's favorite Anatidae photos [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2007-07-21 6:54
Viewed: 6931
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 90
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
First of all I would like to thank each and every one of you for viewing and comments on my previous uploads.
Much appreciated!!!!

Shot taken with the Nikon 500mm F4.0 AF-S lens and I also had the Nikon TC17E II Tele extender between lens and camera.
ISO 400 speed rating.

The Long-tailed Duck (Clangula hyemalis) also known as Old Squaw, of wich some years ago they thought it's not a proper name because some people might be insulted by it, and many other names wich will follow :)

In my opinion the name "Long-tailed" is good for the male duck because of it's, yes indeed, long tail, but the females don't have that long taile and therefore it has nothing to do with the name.
Oh well they just had to think of something ofcourse and that name for surtain come out of the brain of a men.....hehehehehehehe......lol.

We overhere in the Netherlands do call it an IJseend, wich literally translated does mean "Ice Duck".

What you see in this image are the male in front, the female in the middle and a juvenile male, problebly there chicken, in the back.

The soft background you see is no sky, but the snowy mountains on the other side of Katchemak Bay.




Length—Variable, according to development of tail—18 to 23 inches.

Male—In winter: Blackish on back, breast, and tail, whose four middle feathers are long and narrow; sides of the head grayish brown; rest of head, neck all around, upper back, shoulders, and underneath, white; no speculum on grayish wings. Bill with large orange-colored patch; feet dusky blue; In summer: Sides of head white; top of head, throat, breast above and below, back and shoulders, black; white underneath. Tail longer than in winter.

Female—No elongated feathers in tail, which consists of four-teen feathers coming to a point; head, neck, and upper parts, dusky brown, with grayish patch around the eye and one on side of neck; breast grayish, shading to white below; the feathers on the upper parts more or less edged with buff in summer.

Range—" In North America, south to the Potomac and the Ohio (more rarely to Florida and Texas) and California; breeds northward."—A. O. U.

Season—Common winter resident in northern United States; November to April.

Like a crowd of gossiping old women these ducks gabble and scold among themselves all the year round, for in winter, when most voices are hushed, they are the noisiest birds that visit us. In summer, they nest so far north that none but Arctic travellers may hope to study them. Mr. George Clarke, of the Peary expedition, writes of " the old squaw's clanging call' ringing out from the drifting ice cakes where the drakes glided about at no great distance from their brooding mates. South, south, southerly, is the cry some people with more lively imaginations than accuracy of ear have heard; but the Indians were nearer right when they " called down " this high flyer with a hah-ha-way, part of the full cry written by Mr. Mackay as o-onco-onc-ough, egh-ough-egh. The other part is not very different from the honk of a goose. Most of the duck's popular names, as well as its scientific one, allude to its noisy, talkative habit. At evening, and toward spring when the choice of mates involves great discussion and quarrelling, they make more noise than perhaps all our other sea fowl combined.

The plumage of this duck varies so much with age, season, and sex, that it is well we have some pronounced characteristics to help us in naming our bird correctly. The long tail feathers of the drake are its most striking feature; but the obscure-looking duck has little to distinguish her from the female harlequin, except her white abdomen, which is usually concealed under water.

When migrating from the icy regions that they haunt after all other ducks have left for the south, the old squaws proceed by degrees no faster than Jack Frost compels; so that in season as in plumage they are apt to be exceedingly variable, an open winter keeping them north until late, and a cold autumn driving them from the ice-bound waters to seek their fish, mollusks, and water wrack in the open channels of our larger lakes and rivers and the inlets of the sea. Maritime ducks these certainly are by preference; famous divers and swimmers; strong, swift flyers; noisy, restless, lively fellows, that live in a state of happy commotion; gregarious at all seasons, and strongly in evidence where-ever they find their way.

There can be no excuse for killing these fish eaters for their flesh, which is rank and apparently in the very prime of toughness throughout their stay here; but they are clothed with particularly thick, fine, lively feathers that are in great demand for pillows. These form an almost invulnerable armor one would think, yet great quantities of old squaws' down and feathers are bought by upholsterers every year. At the north the mother herself pulls out some of her feathers to cover her pale bluish eggs, concealed in a rude nest in grasses or under some low bush near the shore. When wounded, as the duck flies low and very swiftly along the water, it instantly dives from the wing, according-to Mr. Mackay. He tells of seeing many of them towering, " usually in the afternoon, collecting in mild weather in large flocks if undisturbed, and going up in circles so high as to be scarcely discernible, often coming down with a rush and great velocity, a portion of the flock scattering and coming down in a zig-zag course similar to the scoters when whistled down."

The Harlequin Duck (Histrionicus histrionicus), also called Lords and Ladies, comes down to our more northern coasts of sea and large inland lakes only when ice has closed its feeding grounds at the north; but no clanging call invites our attention when these gay masqueraders appear on the scene, tricked out in black, white, blue, and reddish brown applied in stripes and spots; and as they keep well out from shore to hunt in our open waters, few get a good look at their fantastic coats before they return to the north to nest. The female can scarcely be distinguished from the female old squaw, except by her dusky under parts. A harlequin's flesh is dark and unpalatable, for fishy food is its staple, and no one not hard pressed by hunger would care to eat it. From the characteristics of habit that distinguish all ducks of this subfamily, the harlequin differs little, except in living near rushing, dashing streams of the Rocky and Sierra Nevada mountains and northward during the nesting season. Six or more yellowish or greenish buff eggs are laid in hollow stumps near the water; and the fact that the young ducklings are not swept away by the swift current of the stream they take to and live on, without returning to the nest once it is left, testifies to the remarkable propelling power of their feet. These ducks are most expert divers, too, and when alarmed will plunge like a grebe, and swim under water to parts unknown.

Thanks in advance for viewing and comments.

Warm regards and have a nice weekend,


ridvan, kjpweb, jaycee, ellis49, IulianGherghel, Silvio2006, Necipp, grimmel, Argus, nglen, SelenE, Ken52, marhowie, eqshannon, pilonm, Matt-Bird, CeltickRanger, coasties, bartove, jmp has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To klemmg: Mixi-up of dad and juvenileProframe 2 07-24 13:49
To Robbrown: Fast focus settingsProframe 3 07-22 08:52
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • Mana Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1772 W: 36 N: 5597] (18598)
  • [2007-07-21 7:04]

Hi Harry,
Simply Outstanding!! A stunning shot with immaculate sharpness and unbelievable clarity. The lighting is superb and the synchronity is awesome to say the least. The wooly blue sky presents a striking base to highlight the subjects and you have captured a breath taking moment. Excellent POV and DOF. very nicely composed. Kudos.

  • Great 
  • GLEM Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor [C: 540 W: 87 N: 750] (10)
  • [2007-07-21 7:15]

salut Harry
très belle image de cette oiseau que je n'ai encore jamais vu. Le mouvement est parfaitement saisi, sur un BG bleu de toute beauté. C'est amusant, on dirait que c'est le jeune de la famille qui se trouve entouré et guidé par ses parents.
=> i add your website in my favorites, really a great job.


selam harry, niceshot and very good composition of this duck family nice pov and bg with splendid colours. Well done ! Regards ridvan

HI Harry,
this is a great in-flight shot, sharpness and exposure are spot on.
Well composed with lovely colours. The lsat duck shows the long tails well.
Beautiful work.

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2007-07-21 7:39]

Hi Harry,

Superb!! This is such a beautiful shot of the duck family in-flight. Magnificent colors and so sharp we can see the features on their faces and their expressions. Lovely formation and a beautiful sky. I repeat - superb.


Woah! That's quite a masterpiece. Great clarity and detail and beautiful composition! Hat's off to you! Cheers, Klaus

bonjour harry
cette photo est extraordinaire,lorsque j'arrive a prendre un canard en vol je suis content mais alors là voila la famille complete.bravo.

Hi Harry
Above all perfect compo with lovely BG. These very fast flying birds are razorsharp and exposure is perfect.

Hi Harry, splendid flyng family, excellent focus and beautiful colors, very well done, have a great week end, ciao Silvio

Hello Harry, splendid this family of duck in flight, perfect photograph, cheer


Hello Harry lovely format wide with good space and nice colours the sharpness and details are very good, very sharp still of the wings at 1/1600 great light too have a great weekend tfs best rgds Necip.

hi harry,
really good timing! an amazing capture !
very cute composition. i like the soft blue/white BG and very interesting that it isnt the sky !
great !

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2007-07-21 11:29]

Hello Harry,
Great in-flight shot of three Long-tailed Ducks in winter plumage, caught at fine moment and set in an excellent composition with superb lighting. Another joy to see from you!
TFS and best wishes, Ivan

Hi Harry,
Great inflight shot showing the family variety.
Good DOF,POV, focus, and composition.

Hi Harry,
Wonderful in-flight family portrait complete with what seems to be a perfect lightly clouded blue sky background (saw that they are really OOF mountains!), and slightly bored dad with his nice colours and long tail (seems you mixed up dad & juvenile, but from your description of the appearance of the male it is clear) taking the rear guard. Excellent in-flight capture!

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2007-07-21 13:31]

Hi Harry. First the notes are very interesting thanks.I have never seen this duck so we see somthing new on TN each day. the detail and focusing is first class for an inflight shot. with great colour. very well done and TFS.
" have a good sunday "

Lovely set of flying ducks, lots of details for a distance shot.Silly question time now, how did you line the shot up, I find my 2-400 F4 and the 1.7 does not seem to focus fast enough or give as sharp an image any tips for settings would be gratfully recieved.
TFS yours Robert

  • Great 
  • SelenE Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2249 W: 65 N: 4205] (13972)
  • [2007-07-21 16:07]

Hi Harry,
Very nice in-flight capture of these long-tailed ducks. I liked the POV, focus, exposure control and sharpness. Well done and TFS

  • Great 
  • Ken52 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 636 W: 93 N: 1243] (4195)
  • [2007-07-21 16:25]

Hello Harry,
Such a pleasing choice of retangular crop and well framed. This is beautiful photo with a stunning 3-D quality created by the sharp focus on your subjects and the beautifully blurred sky. The detail on the ducks is amazing for such a distance and the exposure is stunning. Wonderful balanced flight pattern created by the trio.
Best Regards,

Hello Harry, Thank you for such a wonderful post. I thought the BG was a somewhat strange but very beautiful blue sky.
Good you mentioned this in your note. This doesn't change anything though, it was is and reamins a beautiful blue background.
The three 'old wifes' (included the male:) are very well photographed. Never seen this species in flight.
Great pro work.
Congratulations and a nice weekend.

Hello Harry
This is a stunning capture of a specie that I didn't know about. Details, colors and exposure are beautiful! Congrats!

Hi Harry,
Simply perfect..
Great sharpness,details and colours

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2007-07-22 2:04]

Hello Harry,
Every new photo from you is a hit! The sharpness of this flying ducks is perfect. So are colours, composition, POV, BG and exposure.
I'm looking forward to the next-one.

Very nice shot with excelent pov and composition.
Great BG and DOF.

My goodness Harry....I would buy a book if you had or may have one. Certainly the kind of book for guests and such to look at. Your pictures are stunning.

US Wilderness

  • Great 
  • cam Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 85 W: 0 N: 78] (360)
  • [2007-07-22 16:57]

Hi Harry
Thanks for your comment.
I see that I am a long way before being able to get good photos. like yours.So more practice is in order.
Great shot,good grouping with a good separation between the birds.
I notice a slight ghost around the tails from accentuation,a small detail that removes nothing from this good shot.
Have a good week

  • Great 
  • pilonm Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 588 W: 90 N: 975] (3321)
  • [2007-07-22 18:49]

Hello Harry,

WOW!!!What a remarkable picture of those magnificient lon-tailed duck! The blue bg compliments so well the bird and you managed excellently with the exposition letting us see the different tones of white and blakc (not easy!). Excellent POV and composition!

Great job, Harry!!!


  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2007-07-22 20:38]

Hello Harry

A beautiful image of these long-tailed ducks.The composition is wonderful.The colours and lighting are well done.Excellent focus and DOF.The details are sharp.A superb capture.TFS


  • Great 
  • Juyona Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor [C: 2232 W: 10 N: 2971] (16891)
  • [2007-07-23 0:30]

Hola Harry,
preciosa captura y sensacional pov,
detalles excelentes...
deliciosa presentación.

Hi Harry,
Impressive quality, I am impressed with the high shutter speed considering the f/11 used.
TFS, Shir

Belle photo de ce groupement d' oiseaux en plein vol. Amitiés Thomas

  • Great 
  • jossim Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1538 W: 5 N: 2240] (12636)
  • [2007-07-23 17:09]

Excellente prise,bravo pour les couleurs ,les détails et la qualité.

  • jignasi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2118 W: 0 N: 3424] (27917)
  • [2007-07-23 17:47]


This trio is so well taken. The positioning and colours are excellent. Although they look about as aerodynamic as penguins, they have a bit of grace in this shot. Good shadows!

Hello Harry,
A brilliant photo. A simple yet very dynamic photo. I really like the low or wide profile of your frame, it seems to tighten and concentrate the viewers eye on the 3 subjects. Wondefully sharp and clear.

Amazing capture of these birds. Excellent sharpness on this colourful picture.
Best wishes,

Hi Harry
I love all your fotos
Thank you for sharing with us these fantastic fotos
I wish you every time good sootings

bonjour Harry

j'adore ta photo de canard bien capté au vol
avec un superbe cadrage et un beau ciel bleu

l'on aurait dit que tu volais avec eux
et c'est en regardant le jeune que l'on
imagine leurs vol, superbe image




Hi Harry,
Beautiful inflight capture of this threesome, a great exposure showing very nice detail even though they are still in motion. OOF background really brings them out. :)

Hello Harry,
Very nice close grouping inflight, rarely accomplished this well.
Sharp details, with excellent exposure, color, DOF, POV, and a lovely BG. Interesting they're not clouds, ya coulda fooled me ;}
Very well done!

Hello Harry, it's an outstanding shot, perfect detail on the three duck and the blue BG is very nice, fantastic picture, cheer , many thanks for sharing,

Hi Harry

That sounds like some real heavy duty equipment you have got.... awesome result! Lovely to view. :-)

beautiful shot of the duck in-flight
excellent focus and beautiful colors, very well done

  • Great 
  • jmp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1659 W: 95 N: 2273] (8415)
  • [2007-08-05 3:46]

Hi Harry,
Curious and pretty ducks captured with great details and perfect exposure. I like pose and frame a lot.
TFS, José M.

  • Great 
  • Tlapp Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 27 W: 6 N: 19] (112)
  • [2008-04-07 9:26]

Any praise comment here would be stating the obvious :) Great work with all your photos. I particularly like these fellas.

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