The Hooded Mergansers continue to hang out at my backyard pond, and I’ve visited them several times over the past month. They are very skittish birds. I lie down near the pond’s edge and use my groundpod to balance the Beast. The birds usually start out on the opposite side of the pond, but after I stay there quiet for a while, the birds relax a bit and start to swim closer. They are such fun to watch as they swim and dive. The golden afternoon light at the pond was beautiful as it shone on the birds.
The birds were pretty sleepy this afternoon. They swam back and forth with their eyes closed. It can be hard to get good group shots, so I was happy when they grouped themselves nicely and all faced me.
There was quite a bit of preening going on! It’s hard to get good preening shots, with the bird’s head parallel to the image plane. I kept hoping that the birds would start bathing, which is almost always followed by a good wing flap. But they didn’t want to cooperate with me.
The Hoodies weren’t the only birds at the pond that afternoon. This little Pied-Billed Grebe was diving for his dinner. He didn’t stay up for long, but the light on him was gorgeous when he surfaced!
This Double-crested Cormorant was showing off, too. He went diving every few minutes for his dinner. I kept trying to catch him as he began his dive. I got a few good butt shots as he disappeared into the water!
Sometimes it’s fun to chase rare birds, like the Snowy Owl. Other times it’s fun just to enjoy the “common” birds in your own backyard!