hooded merganser

Backyard River Birds

As I was doing dishes this morning, I looked out the window at the river and saw a little Merganser diving for fish. On a whim, I grabbed my camera and snuck down to the edge of the river to try to grab a shot of him Unfortunately, I moved too quickly, and he spooked and flew upriver.

However, a Belted Kingfisher was perched on the power lines that cross the river, and while I was trying to take a picture of some Mergansers coming down the river, I heard the Kingfisher hit the water after a fish. While I didn't catch the entry, I did catch him as she flew toward me to perch on a stick and eat his meal.

And eat it he did. My best guess is that this is a male juvenile Kingfisher. Males have a single blue chest band, and females have the blue chest band with an additional chestnut band further down the belly. Since juveniles can have a mix of chestnut and blue in their upper band, I think the single band on this bird makes him male.

It was quite a piece of luck to come out to shoot a Merganser and end up with a Kingfisher flying toward me with a fish in his mouth. This might be a good time to mention that clicking pictures will blow them up to the full size of your browser window.

And, with a little bit of patience after the Kingfisher flew off, I even got a nice shot of some Hooded Mergansers coming down the river.

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Hooded Merganser

My parents came up to visit the day before my birthday, and we spent the late morning and early afternoon driving around the shoreline shopping and looking for some easy birding, as the remnants of the last blizzard have made the hiking trails a bit inhospitable recently. It was quite nice out, and while I didn't get any great traditional shots of the waterfowl we found, I did get one artsy picture of a female Hooded Merganser just after she took off.


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