One of the most stunning of the North American waterfowl, the Wood Duck can be found in California all year around. Like the Hooded Merganser, it is a tree cavity nester that prefers wooded ponds and lakes. Once young Wood Ducks hatch, they jump out of the their nest high up in the tree cavity and make their way to the water. Wood ducklings have been known to leap out of nests nearly 300ft off the ground and land without injury. In this image, the setting sun has lit up the cattails on the far side of the water. The results is a firey reflection that gives the water an appealing "liquid gold" quality.
Santa Cruz, California