Thursday, January 3, 2013

One of My Favorites!

It was another very grey day down at Ft. Fisher but the parking lot was totally empty and I spotted a large flock of "ducks" so settled in to see what they were.  Turns out it was a rather large flock of Hooded Mergansers (one of my favorites), both males and females mixed in with a flock of Horned Grebes (which I had only seen one other time at Carolina Beach Lake).  It was very dark but you can get an idea of the coloring and marks.  This is the male Hooded Merganser with his crest up which they do when doing courtship moves -- I actually thought there were two different kinds of ducks initially as I didn't realize the crest went up and down, depending on their mood.  They begin their courtship patterns in mid-winter according to the Stokes.

Here is crest is down so you see  he does look a bit different.
Here are several of the males with one of the females who aren't as pretty.  There is also one of the Horned Grebes (kind of fuzzy) in the foreground.

You can see the females and two Horned Grebes in this picture.

This is my "one of each" picture with a male Merganser, female and then the Horned Grebe in front!

This gives a side view and a front view of the Hooded Merganser.

You can see how many Horned Grebes were there in this picture.  They were frequently under water.

I saw this behavior several times and couldn't quite figure out why they were laying on their sides like this.  They did this for awhile and they were in a bit of a feeding frenzy at the time.  As soon as I approached them, they swam way out but when I went back to my car and waited, they slowly came back into view.  I think the secret is to get down there when no one is around.  These were all at the foot of Ft. Fisher where the boar ramp is.

Not to be outdone, a male Kingfisher also came to visit!

A nice Tricolor Heron also came to visit along with a beautiful Snowy Egret (first one I have seen down here this year although a very common bird).

He was heading toward the Tricolor.

He was sitting up on the dock here and you can see his coloring clearly.
I am actually working on machine quilting another of the Serendipity quilts as sitting outside reading just isn't nice on these dreary "Rochester" days.  I have also been working on the hand quilting on the Baltimore Album and am starting to doubt that it will be done in time for the quilt show but another month should give me a better idea of timing.

It was a good birding day but not a good day for photography!!  These pictures were taken with the Canon SX40 with a zoom of about 88x (it has an optical zoom of 35X and then you can increase by using digital zoom).  They were just too far away for my good camera!

One of the female Hooded Mergansers came in a little closer early on so you can see a bit more detail here.


Marissa said...

How Beautiful!!!

julie KIKOU said...

Dear Beth,
It was by pure chance that I discover your blog. I enjoyed very much seeing your beautiful quilts and pictures of birds. Your life is so different from mine living in a big city Paris, France.
Thank you for sharing.
Yours Sincerely,