Rainy Merganser visit

May 12, 2010

Tuesday was another day of clouds and rain in Northern Virginia. Huntley Meadows was relatively quiet, but I did get some great face time with a female Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator) and six of her young.

The day began with a scan of the woods, were I found a Pileated Woodpecker, but distance prevented the shot. On the boardwalk, I initially didn’t have much better luck, though I was able to watch some of the dive-bombing birds that I’ve mentioned in the past. In conversation with another shooter, we figured them to be Barn Swallows.

With the approach of the Merganser near a section of the boardwalk, I knew I would have a decent chance for shooting. Slowly I moved to a good spot and fired off a few frames.

The bird and its young then slipped under the walkway and toward nearby reeds. As I maneuvered to adjust, I spooked it and it began to move away. To prevent any further scares, I slowly backed off and left the area for a few minutes.

I returned to find them posing for me feet from the path. For less than thirty seconds, I shot the frame at the top of this post and others like it before another visitor loudly asked what I was looking at and stomped up to me for a closer look.

As the birds slipped off into the distance, the interrupter regaled me with nonsensical stories about the demise of the dinosaurs and books I should read.

I guess I should be glad for any time that I have with animals at all, but when those visits come to a premature end, it leaves me a bit miffed.

After the storytelling concluded, I had some more solitary time on the boardwalk and was able to reconnect with the Mergansers, who had hobbled up onto a log. As all seven of them sat there, I worked the scene for a few minutes and got some photos that I’ve tentatively placed in the book layout.

A general scan of the park yielded few other results besides some short observation of a hunting Osprey, herons and egrets.

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2 Responses to “Rainy Merganser visit”

  1. Renee Says:

    Love that first shot with all of them in profile! SO cute!


  2. […] Activity overall was minimal, but I did finish out the day with a nice view of the mother Merganser from my last outing. […]


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