Red-Breasted Mergansers

It’s definitely winter here in the Pacific Northwest. Even though we had some bitterly cold, clear days, the weather has been predominantly grey and wet, with little chance to get out birding, especially if you’re mostly interested in photographs. That just means that I’m even more anxious to get out on days when the weather does cooperate, especially since there are birds wintering here that are only here for a short time and will be long gone by the time better weather arrives.

I’ve long since given up trying to list “favorites,” because more often than not my favorite bird is the one in front of me, particularly if its in its breeding colors. Right now, around here the Red-Breasted Mergansers, like this pair, stand out.
The male is hard to confuse with any other duck when it’s in full mating colors.

Red-Breasted Merganser pair

I can never tell if I’m amused, or just impressed by that head, but it’s hard not to focus on it in the shots I take.

Red-Breasted Merganser

You don’t really get too long to get a shot, though, because once they realize you’re focusing on them they disappear,

Merganser diving

sometimes to emerge right in front of you with a fresh shrimp entrée.

Merganser with shrimp

Inevitably, though, I find myself focusing on the male, trying to capture

Red-Breasted Merganser

that beauty, if only for a fraction of a second, which seems almost forever.