I don’t typically chase rare birds. I don’t have anything against it, but it just doesn’t lead to the kinds of photos I like to take. I like the calm and contemplative feel of returning again and again to the same spot as I work to take a photo that expresses how it feels to be in that spot with the animals that make it home.

On the other hand, I’ve tried a few different spots for Wood Ducks and haven’t yet found one that works. To be honest, I’m in a bit of a duck rut. My favorite spot was re-landscaped and just doesn’t yield the same opportunities it used to. So when I heard there was a Wood Duck at Golden Gate Park, I gave in and went to photograph it.

There’s not much point chasing ducks around a pond to try to get them to sit still near your lens, so I lay down next to the pond, tried to avoid the bird poop, and waited for the Wood Duck to swim over to the side with the good light.

Soon enough, someone toting binoculars came by. “Wood duck?” they grunted. I pointed them towards the other side of the pond and they headed off without another word.

While that encounter was lacking in common courtesies, once they got to the other side of the pond, the Wood Duck swam over and I got my shot.