Mergansers, Ducks, and More

Hooded Merganser Jan 5

A few days ago I noticed a group of Hooded Mergansers on a pond near our house. I didn’t have time to stop that day, but today’s mild weather convinced me to spend a few hours with my camera.

Hooded Merganser Jan 5

I counted eight mergansers on the pond today (four males and four females), as well as a pair of Mallards and a pair of Northern Shovelers.

Shoveler Jan 5

Shoveler Jan 5

On the banks, a Great Egret watched from one side and a Great Blue Heron from the other.

Egret January 5

Heron Jan 5

This was the day’s smallest pond, and it had the most birds. A much larger pond (more lake than pond) a few miles away was mostly deserted. Three seagulls rested in the middle, and two Pied-billed Grebes fished near the shore.

Pied Billed Grebe Jan 5

Pied Billed Grebe Jan 5

Finally, we drove through a growing neighborhood that was landscaped with several mid-sized ponds, each populated with sleepy mallards.

Mallards Jan 5

All afternoon clouds gathered and thickened in the sky, and by the time we returned home wind was beginning to blow the day’s warmth out to sea. Now rain is on the horizon, followed by icy cold. I’m sure many of the smaller ponds will freeze over, and again I find myself wondering about the birds. Do they know what is coming? Do they already know where they will go, when ice drives them out? I know where I’ll be–curled up with my blankets and books and cats, grateful as always for the luxuries of home.

5 thoughts on “Mergansers, Ducks, and More

  1. bardessdmdenton January 20, 2014 / 1:56 PM

    Love all the photos, of course! But especially the one of the mallards standing all in a row! 🙂

  2. selah January 5, 2014 / 6:06 PM

    beautiful Egret, you are blessed to have such a variety of birds..

    • Rae Spencer January 5, 2014 / 7:00 PM

      One of the best things about this area is the wildlife, especially the birds. Herons and egrets are two of my favorites, though I’m rarely satisfied with my photos of them. They are much more beautiful than anything I can capture in a photo! 🙂

  3. Sharon Poch January 5, 2014 / 6:06 PM

    The One Merganser Looks As Though He’s Conducting An Orchestra! Great Pics.

    • Rae Spencer January 5, 2014 / 7:01 PM

      The mergansers looked like they were having fun today. Lots of flapping and splashing, which is probably why all the other birds were staying near the shore…

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