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Sunday, November 26, 2006

Be Persistent

Common Merganser, male

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

Canada Goose

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)

Photos © Lillian Stokes, 2006


Julie Zickefoose said...

How nice that you're permitting comments, so I can rave about your flying mergs! These shots are amazing! Love that smiling male common and his "teeth." I hope Bill will be able to make flight photos like these with his new rig.
I'm shopping for a camera that will let me tote it along while hiking (I do some pretty rugged stuff on a daily basis) but still give me some telephoto power for birds and animals. The big Canon Bill got is a bit much, weight and lengthwise, forme. If you've any suggestions I'd love to hear them.

Lillian Stokes said...

Hi Julie,
Great that you want to get your own camera. I'm sure you'll take wonderful photos, given your suberb artistic talents! You might want to consider the new Canon Rebel XTi camera with the Canon EF 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS (image stabilized) telephoto zoom lens. It would be fairly lightweight and you could lock the telephoto zoom lens in the 70 mm position, which makes it shorter for carrying. When you want to use the zoom, just unlock and zoom the lens out. You would be able to get shots of closer things as well as enough telephoto power to get decent shots of birds. And, you would have a blast photographing Chet!
P.S.Hello and "slurps" from Phoebe to Chet.