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Hooded Mergansers in Melbourne

On the day that my dad and I went looking for lifers in Melbourne, we stopped by a pond where a Common Goldeneye has been reported recently.  I’d seen a female Common Goldeneye a few years ago in Seminole County, but it would have been a lifer for my dad.  Alas, we found the pond and there was no Common Goldeneye – but there were plenty of Hooded Mergansers to entertain us for a little while.

Hooded Merganser (Male)
Hooded Merganser (Male)

Hooded Mergansers are one of my favorite winter visitors.  They seem to have such bubbly, happy energy as they dive in our ponds.  I never seem to get tired of photographing them.  This afternoon was a particular challenge.  First it was harsh mid-day light.  Plus the birds were hanging out in the shade, and the cars passing by caused strange reflections in the water.  But I was pleasantly surprised by some of my photos.  Hoodies are such pretty birds!

Hooded Merganser (Female)
Hooded Merganser (Female)

When we first arrived, the birds were sunning themselves and floating lazily on the water.  But after a little while, they went into a feeding frenzy.  I had to laugh at one female bird who kept bobbing for acorns in the water.  She’d come with an acorn in her mouth and toss it back and forth a few times before gulping it down. I was a little surprised to see her swallowing the acorns whole!

Hoodie with Acorn
Hoodie with Acorn

We’ll have to try again for a Common Goldeneye for my dad.  I hope he’s as cooperative as these hoodies!

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