Tuesday, December 1, 2020

One of our favorite Winter Visitors, the BuffleHEAD!

February 10, 2012 by  
Filed under Nature, Our World

Thanks to our bird buddy, Len Blumin:

The Bufflehead is a small “Sea Duck” (in the tribe Mergini) that winters in large numbers along our coast, and inland on bays, rivers and ponds. The Bufflehead may be common, but he is a rather difficult subject to photograph. The unmistakeable male sports only the brightest whites and blackest blacks, which may be a treat for our eyes but presents a severe challenge to the sensors of our digital cameras (or to the emulsions that a few of us still use).

The black feathers on the head of the male Bufflehead have a microstructure that breaks up the incoming light and reflects back (by “interference and selective reinforcement”)¬†only certain colors of the spectrum. We call these colors “iridescence”, and the technical explanation is a whole lot less interesting that the partial rainbow of colors that we see. This photo is from Aquatic Park, Berkeley, taken a few weeks ago. How many colors can you see? Some of you may want to enlarge the photo for a closer look.

Cheers, Len

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