Friday, April 27, 2012

Ducklings Arrive: Hooded Mergansers

A pleasant surprise awaited upon my arrival at the wetlands this evening; the hooded merganser ducklings have arrived!  I spotted this hen hurring away with her some of her brood in tow. 

 Whereas mallard and wood duck young will stick close to their mothers, hooded merganser ducklings frequently forage by themselves or in pairs.  After placing my pop-up blind I didn't have long to wait until a lone duckling swam by my position.

More singles and pairs passed by as the evening progressed however most stayed behind the bushes ringing the shoreline.  This duckling took a shortcut across a small area of open water.  The reflections of the fresh spring foliage painted a beautiful backdrop aross the water.

This little duckling caught some creature, perhaps a salamander.  The catch was too large to swallow in one gulp and the duckling carried it around for some time as it alternated between trying to swallow and attempting to peck it into smaller pieces.  I don't know how the merganser made out as it was still carrying the prey when it swam out of sight.

Besides the two broods of merganser I also sighted a mallard pair with a large brood in tow however they were much warier and disapeared from view before I could capture any decent images.


Shelley said...

So sweet to see the little duckling w/ his salamander prize!

Lois Evensen said...

Just darling. Wonderful images, especially that last one. :)

Montanagirl said...

Love these images. That duckling with his catch is priceless.

Elaine said...

All lovely images, but most especially the last with the salamander. Isn't it just like a kid to bite off more than he can chew?