I confess, I totally adore ducklings. There is something irresistable about their cute stripey fluffyness, the shiny ‘still new’ gloss on their beaks and their endless curiosity and energy. The only time they stop moving is when they settle down to sleep and I was lucky that this was happening as I crept patiently towards them.
The thing I have learnt about ducks is people standing up scare them, if you can get low to the ground, try to take cover behind anything handy (grass, shrubs or in this case a handy wooden seat) and give them a chance to see you are not a predator, most ducks will calm down quite quickly.
To get the most intimate view I prefer to shoot lying flat on my stomach, and this did not bother the family at all. The parents were alert, as good duck parents are, and if I moved too much it concerned them, but I was able to shuffle back and forward a foot here or there without scaring them away.
The clicking of my camera did attract attention from the more alert ducklings, as you can see from the shot above, he had been tucked up but after I had shot a couple of images, he woke up and looked right at me and I got this lovely image.
After a while a couple of the ducklings stretched their legs out behind them. One was completely asleep and totally relaxed as you can see in the bottom image of the two above. I have not seen ducklings do this before, but the gravel was warm and dry in the sun, and that may have been the reason.
The thing that astonished me most about ducklings is their fearless approach to life. They are tiny helpless beings, but will happily fossick about on a riverbank, wandering quite far from mum. Let them near water and they go nuts, bobbing about, flitting here and there, poking around rock crevices for a tasty goodie.
The image above is of a duckling imitating the parent who dives to nibble on weed growing on the lake bottom. Ducklings are too buoyant due to their fluffy immature feathers, so they don’t dive very well. This one is kicking hard with his feet to drive him under the water, and making a big splash
The world is a better place because it has ducklings in it!
All images taken on Canon 7d with 70-200F4 IS L lens (handheld) and processed in LR4