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Eventually my new Pentax K3 camera arrived this morning, I was keen to find out if any of the new features were going to make noticeable improvements. I made my way out to Exminster Marsh in the hope that there would be some ducks to photograph. I parked up and immediately I could see Northern Shoveler feeding in the flooded fields and reasonably nearby. I noticed an immediate and unequivocal difference which amounts to a significant improvement from my previous camera, a Pentax K511s. There is apparently a brand new sensor onboard, there are more focus points, 27 as opposed to 11 previously and on "burst" the K3 shoots just under 9 frames a second. Immediately the camera came in to it's own and…. well you decide? It can't be a coincidence that this is one of my best ever flight shots and in dull light as well. The Northern Shoveler breeds in small numbers in the UK but 18000 birds overwinter here. I happen to think that they are one of the most attractive of our birds, particularly in flight with very striking patches of colour icluding poder blue on the wings. Their beak is weird, no other word for it, it's spatular shaped and looks too big for it's body. The "duck", thats the female of course, has strange black blotches on the brown beak, (males "drakes" have black beaks) which I haven't read about before but I could clearly see them today.
Looking at this image again you can clearly see these striking patches of colour which surely make this bird one of the most colourful of our birds.
As you can see, the "duck" is quite a plain looking bird, in the photo above it is feeding in typical fashion sifting through the debris under water with it's "shovel" and below you get a better idea of the beak size and shape. All of these pictures are quite considerably cropped and the quality is quite well preserved.
The yellow eye is a particularly attracive feature.