Saturday, April 18, 2015

Just Ducky

After seeing two Sandhill Cranes last week along the Bight, I decided to see what other shorebirds or waterfowl I might find.  Not having any luck in Northport or Omena, I headed down to the Narrows at Lake Leelanau, where the habitat attracts a variety of water critters.

Right away, I saw a male Common Merganser floating leisurely among the reeds.  Its green head was in striking contrast to its clean white body and red serrated bill.

The female was floating a ways behind her mate.  How different she was to him with her elongated gray body and short-crested, cinnamon-colored head!  It was hard to believe they were the same species.

For some reason, the pair suddenly stopped their leisurely swim and pivoted into an immediate about-face. 

The mergansers closed ranks and stared intently down stream.  I wondered if they sensed a predator nearby.  But I could see nothing in the direction where they keenly peered.

I broke out in a smile, however, as ripples in the water gave way to a surfacing beaver.  Fortunately, it wasn't a predator.  In fact, ducks sometimes build their nests atop beaver dams.

Once the beaver had passed, the merganser pair returned to their leisurely paddle.  It was truly a just ducky kind of morning.


  1. As you might guess, this photo story is right down my alley, Karen. I greatly enjoyed both the photos and the text, especially the element of suspense you introduced as the mergansers stared intently down stream. What a relief to learn that the beaver was no threat!

  2. Thanks, Jan. I was really concerned there was a predator coming too! Luckily, it was just a harmless beaver. My neighbor helped me to identify it because I wasn't sure if it was a beaver or an otter.

  3. What a happy story, Karen, and how wonderful that you caught it all with your camera! Good work!

  4. Thanks, Pamela. It's such a labor of love for me. Karen