These ducks were painted in overcast conditions - it is amazing how much the bright iridescence of their plumage faded when out of the direct sun. Most of the males were diving to feed and just before they dived, they compressed their plumage, then relaxed it when coming back to the surface. Waterdrops just rolled off as their feathers are highly waterproof. After a period of feeding, they rested tucking their bills under the back feathers.
Keeping alert at all times was also a priority and there was always one duck keeping a watchful eye. They quickly became used to my presence as I was keeping a low profile, sitting still most of the time but they quickly became alert when a larger bird flew overhead - even if it was just a crow.
After preening vigorously, a further period of resting followed then more diving for food. Their schedule didn't change much at all during the day and since it was still cold, there was not a lot of courtship going on. All in all, a quiet but productive day down at the lake.
A few more sketches to finish off. Also present were a handfull of Buffleheads - I'll publish those studies in my next post.
I am an artist living and working near Washington DC in the USA. I was born in the UK but have lived abroad most of my life. I paint mostly landscapes and birds but have many interests so you never know what will turn up. Most of the paintings shown here are for sale so please contact me at jeremypearse (at) gmail.com if interested. Thanks for visiting!