John Deere Marsh, Mississippi River, Dubuque, Iowa ---------      

If there was a prize awarded for the prettiest migrating duck, the Bufflehead would probably be ranked in the top 3. It is hard to get close to them, but it is so much fun to watch the males displaying and battling for the female’s attention. Although I just read that Buffleheads are mostly monogamous and often stay with the same mate for several years. However, they are constantly on the move and in between they also have to dive for food and will disappear from your view for a few seconds. Guess when that happens? Of course, the moment when you think you have the duck in focus for a sharp image…

It was a gorgeous weekend for bird watching and I used my time to patrol along the Mississippi River between Dubuque, Iowa and Brownsville, Minnesota. I saw thousands of migrating ducks, swans, and geese but it doesn’t mean every encounter will lead to an image. The Mississippi is several kilometers / miles wide for the most part and there isn’t always access to the water due to topography or private land ownership. As longer I live near the Mississippi Valley as more I appreciate to watch the big bird migration every year. My heart beats faster if I see thousands of little dots over the horizon, which indicates birds on the move.

Another good thing is to meet other people who enjoy bird watching as well. Yesterday, at the Brownsville, MN overlook I met Richard, another bird watcher from Iowa,. He let me look through his spotting scope and we had fun to identify birds and shared our sightings. The birds were all at a distance and I didn’t even take the camera out of the car, but spending time with like-minded people is priceless and always educating.