Common Mergansers

Rut Sullivan, who I often bird with, has a saying that goes “One good bird, that’s all we need” when birding is slow.

I guess I’d paraphrase it “One good shot” since I’m more interested in a good picture than in seeing an unusual bird, though a “good shot” often ends up meaning a picture of a bird I’ve never seen before.

I really didn’t get a picture that really stood out the last time I went out and virtually all of them, with the possible exception of this one,

male and female Common Merganser in breeding colors

will soon be wiped off my hard drive.

It’s not that there’s anything particularly exceptional about this shot, except it clearly shows the radical difference between a male and female Common Merganser in full-breeding colors.

When I first noticed this a coupIe years ago I could hardly believe that these were the same species. By now, it’s lost a little of its miraculousness, and sadly I tend to accept it matter-of-factly — except when I see the first pure black-and-white male of the year.