Look closely and you can see the saw-like edge to the bill
Hooded Mergansers, male left, female right
Hooded Merganser, male, with crest raised
Today we took a little birding trip to see if we could find any migrating waterfowl on the ponds in southwest NH. At first, we weren't finding much and felt like giving up. Don said "let's check one more pond". We pulled off the main road onto a side road, scanned the pond and saw nothing. We then decided to drive a little farther up the road to see around a bend and bingo, we hit the mother lode. There were over 80 Common Mergansers and 15 Hooded Mergansers. In birding, it pays to be persistent. I took the flight photos above as a few sailed over us.
These are beautiful ducks and it was exciting to see them. When I enlarged one of my photos, (easy to do with digital images) we could see a cool feature of the Common Merganser's bill, the little serrated edge that looks like teeth. This amazing adaptation helps the bird hold onto slippery fish, it's main food.
Our final totals were
87 Common Mergansers 33 Hooded Mergansers 31 Canada Geese 17 Mallards 7 Black Ducks 2 Common Goldeneyes (a pair)