Common Mergansers

On my trip to Santa Rosa in January I got some of the best shots I’ve ever gotten of male Common Mergansers at Lake Ralphine. The birds were so conditioned to all the people on the trail that they would float right by, indifferent to everything but the fish swimming below. So when we went back a little over a week ago I was hoping to get more shots. I looked for them all three days I was at the lake, but there was none to be seen. Apparently they had all left during the three week period between visits.

Strangely enough, there seemed to be as many female Common Mergansers as there had been male Mergansers on the previous trip, and they seemed as willing as the male Mergansers to pose for the camera. I’ve never been as close to a female Merganser as I got to this one who seemed to paddle straight toward me to get her picture taken.

female Common Merganser

In fact, this is the first time I’ve ever been close enough to see the strange black line that runs down the top of the startling orange/red beak.

This one got so close that I had a hard time keeping it in the frame.

female Common Merganser

I actually had to add water to the top of the image to compose it the way I wanted to frame it. This is surely the best shot I’ve ever gotten of a female Common Merganser.

Apparently the merganser thought she needed a better pose, though, dipped her beak in the water and tilted her head back.

female Common Merganser

On my first trip to Belfair after my Santa Rosa trip I discovered where the male Common Mergansers had disappeared to, but they weren’t at all anxious to have their picture taken this time.

 Common Mergansers in flight

Although the weather outside would seem to suggest it’s still Winter here in the Pacific Northwest, the birds seem to think otherwise as the great Spring Migration seems to have begun.