Friday, April 29, 2016

Diving Duck(s)

I was driving along the bay when I spotted a couple Red-Breasted Mergansers bobbing along on the bay.  I wondered if they were in the process of migrating to their summer breeding grounds, typically a bit north of us.

I enjoy watching these diving ducks because of their unique appearance and because of the antics they go through while they're diving for fish, most often in salt water regions.

The male is very striking with his greenish-black iridescent head, red eye, and long, thin, orange to red bill.  But it's the spikey black crest that I like the most.

The female is much less dramatic with its head a solid red-brown and its breast, back, and wings a marbled brownish-gray. 

I was waiting for the fishing to begin.  I got several images of the male sticking his head partly under the surface.  He seemed to be looking into the water, but didn't find anything worthy of diving for.

In contrast, the female was really into it.  She propelled her whole body into the diving act.

Pretty soon she was bottoms up.

She was completely submerged, kicking up ripples in her wake.

Success!  When she surfaced, she'd captured her prey.  Looks like the high energy paid off.  I wonder if she'll share it with her mate?


  1. Wow. Thank you, Karen. I love the tufts on their heads . . . and their energy.

  2. Thanks, Phil. They were fun to watch. I like the head gear too.

  3. Delightful captures of this ducky duo, Karen! I love the male's spikey 'do and the series of shots documenting the female's hunt for her prey. Loved seeing a great catch for both of you in the final image.

  4. Thanks, Jan. These were wonderful critters to photograph.