The last few days have been bitterly cold with snowfall across the south of England - relatively unusual for December. Today, however, the sun was out and the light was beautiful. I took the opportunity for a walk in the park after completing my Christmas shopping. Most of the ponds in the Woodland Gardens were covered in thick ice, restricting the ducks to a few small areas of open water. This enabled me to get up close and personal with a couple of species which generally keep their distance. The first of these was a female red-crested pochard. Not quite as gaudy as the male - but I think I prefer her subtle colours. Particularly in the soft winter light
The second was the tufted duck. I have lots of photos of these - but for some reason very few that I'm pleased with. I think the problem is that if you expose the shot so as not to blow out the brilliant whites, you lose the sheen of their heads. On this shot I over-exposed the white feathers, but cropping them out yields an interesting portrait.