Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Pic of the Day

close-up showing serrated tooth beak
    Hooded Merganser, Lophodytes cucullatus – Viera Wetlands; Viera, Florida:  While I was photographing the bufflehead pictured in the last post, a small group of hooded mergansers swam into view.  Without hesitation I trained my camera on them and began shooting.  That gorgeous light that illuminated the bufflehead was now striking these beautiful toothed ducks.  Good light, good subject, what more could a bird photographer ask for.
     The hooded merganser is the smallest of the three merganser species in North America, and the only one restricted to the continent.  Mergansers are toothed ducks, having long, slender, hooked, serrated bills that are perfectly adapted for catching fish, a primary food source.  The photo of the female shows the serrated beak quite well.  (For the last photo I have enlarged the head making the serrated beak easier to see.)
     While the male sports a white hood, black back and chestnut sideboards, the female is decked-out with a drab gray-brown head, rusty-brown crest and brown body.  She is perfectly colored not to draw attention to herself.  But, in this case both the drake and hen caught my attention and gave me ample opportunity to take frame filling images before they swam away………and I thought the bufflehead was going to be the best part of the day!

Check out images of a hooded merganser eating an apple snail.

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