The adorable little Hooded Merganser ducks

On Thanksgiving day, on my own and happy to have the time to get caught up, I finally just had to get outside before it was completely dark. At 3:20 I went for a quick walk and, only as a last minute thought, threw the camera over my shoulder. For the past several weeks there hasn’t been any life on the pond but on this day there were 5 Hooded Mergansers with a couple of geese arriving while I was there. I adore these little birds and haven’t seen any since last spring so this was really exciting. But it was also cloudy and incredibly dark. I did my best to get some nice shots and here they are – heavily edited photos to get rid of noise.

Distant cousins?

The male is so very pretty and photogenic with his hood showing aggression, excitement, and who knows what! How much more fun to see two at a time; friends or territorial foes?

Sometimes one of the females would get in the middle and chase a male away. Was it her mate or the other one? Hard to tell!

But it kept getting darker and the little ducks stayed far away!

In the last moments of daylight, there was a break in the clouds, but of course the ducks stayed in the shade. This picture gives some perspective of the challenge in photographing them.

The next day I went out again in the drizzle and two of them were still there. The male wasn’t showing off his cuteness so much, but the female was definitely in charge, leading the way around the pond and finally being the first to take off. Sadly, I think it was the bright white of my large lens that spooked her. I am ordering a camouflage skin for it right away.

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