A Plethora of Common Mergansers

One of my favorite places in Santa Rosa despite the crowds of people in Howarth City Park/ Spring Lake. I’ve been walking there for over 15 years now and I think I enjoy it more now than I did when I started walking since I’ve taken up birdwatching.

Although you can generally count on a few birds being there every time you walk, in recent years I have been pleasantly surprised by seeing birds I’ve never seen there before.

I was hoping to see snowy egrets there as I had in the recent past. Instead, I found a small flock of, and mergansers, a bird I never remember seeing there before, certainly not as close as I did this time.

This is surely the closest I’ve ever gotten to a common merganser

male Common Merganser

as I’ve never seen the kind of fine detail in the feathers shown here.

They were so indifferent to my presence that I could even watch them trolling for fish


and was amazed how fast they snorkeled along.

This female seemed a little shy, keeping her distance

female Common Merganser

and even taking flight when I focused on her too long.

merganser taking off

Strangely, while the ducks nearby generally ignored me, the mergansers further out in the lake took off when I pointed my lens at them,

three mergansers taking off

and while I wouldn’t intentionally scare them I was happy to get this good of shots of them in flight, my favorite way to portray birds.

mergansers in flight

It seemed like an auspicious start to my walk.

2 thoughts on “A Plethora of Common Mergansers”

  1. Hi, Loren,

    I am enjoying your blog. Your photos of birds are exceptionally good. I am curious: do you live somewhere in Sonoma County? (I live in Sebastopol.) I like to kayak and I see many birds on the Russian River and on Tomales Bay. Seeing birds is always a highlight of my outings.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Dan. Actually I was visiting my mother-in-law in Santa Rosa when I took these pictures. I live in Tacoma, WA on Puget Sound, where most of the many pictures in my blog come from. Tomales Bay is one of our favorite places to visit when we are there, and I would love to bird at Russian River after reading some recent articles about their new preserve.

      I just glanced at your blog, but I suspect that I would enjoy reading your adventures.

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