Red-breasted Mergansers in Utah

Red-breasted Merganser and snowy reflectionsRed-breasted Merganser and snowy reflections – Nikon D200, f7.1, 1/1000, ISO 250, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

I know it is hard for some people to get excited about ducks and waterfowl but I really love seeing and photographing them. I spent the morning yesterday at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge hoping to see lots of ducks and swans. I did see the swans but they were too far away to photograph but they were close enough for me to enjoy hearing their calls reverberate over the marsh. I also saw ducks but they were also too far away and they weren’t in the high numbers I had anticipated seeing.

Near the auto tour route though I saw what appeared to be 250 to 300 Red-breasted Mergansers on the Bear River. I think it was the largest raft of Red-breasted Mergansers I have ever seen. Before I could even get my lens up and resting on my noodle and before I could even focus my camera the mergansers flushed and flew west and I didn’t get a single image of them that I was happy with. It is hunting season on the refuge which might be why the mergansers flushed so easily. I wish I had an image of them flying away to share but that just didn’t work out.

Perhaps this winter I will be able to get close enough to some mergansers to take high quality images of them but I have to say that large flock taking off yesterday from the Bear River is a visual memory I will enjoy for a long time to come. It isn’t always about the photos I take, it is also about the memories I create and being out in nature.

Life is good.


The Red-breasted Merganser image above was taken in November of 2010 at Farmington Bay WMA after a snow fall.


  1. April Olson November 26, 2016 at 11:49 am

    Yes it is the sounds, smells, and sights that create the memory to last us when we can’t get out. Yesterday was one of those days at the refuge for me. There were birds, rough legged hawk, great egret, grebes, tundra swans and a variety of ducks, but they were just out of my focal range. The day was gorgeous the sun warm on my skin and the light breeze cool. I got out and walked the dikes and was just happy with being there. I love the sound of tundra swans even from a distance.

  2. Patty Chadwick November 26, 2016 at 7:51 am

    The water patterns in this photo are particularly beautiful. As for pictures of ducks, I enjoy images of ducks as muchbas any other bird or critter…just as long as it doesn’t have two legs, a dead fox on its head and an arrogant sneer….

  3. Bob McPherson November 26, 2016 at 6:50 am

    Beautiful image, Mia.

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