Or consider the bittern. I've never seen one. That I know of. Other people see them where I've just been; I probably thought they were broken snags.
But I never thought of the mallards in the context of camouflage techniques until today.
The females, of course, do wear sedate, mottled brown coats, well-suited for sitting on nests hidden in brown reeds and grasses. But those show-offs, the males?
|Eye-catching purple head|
Then today, I was struggling with our latest batch of mallard photos from Cougar Creek Park Almost none of them "worked"; the birds were in plain sight, but could hardly be distinguished among the reflections and floating debris. Laurie walked into the room and saw one on the screen a few feet away, and said, "What's that? It looks like a sandwich." He had to walk over and squint at the screen to see the pair of mallards front and centre.
Mallards love small ponds overhung with trees, swaying and shimmying reflections, shallow water that exposes the gunk and sticks on the bottom, shady creeks where light patches dance between pools of darkness. And in these conditions, even a male in his breeding glory can disappear.
|The sandwich photo, cropped, cleaned and lightened up considerably.|
|Female in "open" water, with debris and reflections. I lightened it up and increased the contrast after I cleaned up half the junk to show the duck.|
|Another female tangling up the reflected trees. More contrast and light added.|
|Reflected house and trees. No mallards. Just because I liked the colours. Mallard head colours.|