Backyard photographyBirds

9 Seconds, 9 Hoodies!

Yesterday afternoon I went down to our local retention pond where a flock of Hooded Mergansers can often be found diving.  I got lots of funny looks as I walked down our residential street with my big camera and lens, carrying my groundpod.  (The only bad thing about the groundpod is that it is incredibly awkward to carry long distances!)   I reached the pond, where I counted at least nine Hoodies, swimming up and down the pond.  I carefully approached, laid down with my groundpod, and had barely snapped two pictures when the noisy schoolbus came screeching down the road.  All the Hoodies spooked and flew off.  Of course I wasn’t ready to focus quickly for flight shots, and I barely managed one image that was almost in focus.  Silly traffic!  Note to self: don’t go to the pond at high traffic times again.

Hooded Merganser Take-Off!
Hooded Merganser Take-Off!

I stayed for about half an hour, hoping that the Hooded Mergansers would come back.  They didn’t.  This Pied-billed Grebe was the only bird left on the pond.  He spent the time diving for his dinner.  It was fun to watch him coming up and down.  The grebes are good divers and will often go long distances under water.  In the spring when they have their babies, they take their babies onto their backs for their dives.  Pretty incredible, huh?  I amused myself trying to predict where he would re-surface.  Of course he never humored me by emerging where I had pre-focused my lens.  But I did managed to get a good water shake shot from him!

Pied-Billed Grebe
Pied-Billed Grebe

Sometimes in nature photography you are rewarded with amazing opportunities of lots of birds doing exactly what you want.  Sometimes you’re not so lucky!  But it’s always fun to get out and try for some great pictures!