Winter Common Mergansers – A Visual Break From The Summer Heat

/, Common Mergansers, Davis County, Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area, Utah/Winter Common Mergansers – A Visual Break From The Summer Heat

Drake Common Merganser in icy water and breeding plumageDrake Common Merganser in icy water and breeding plumage – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 250, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

This summer’s heat has really gotten to me lately and with September just around the corner I can start looking forward to lower temperatures after next week when temps will drop below the high 90’s . I don’t think this August will be a record breaking month because we had a few cooler days but generally it has been hotter than normal and this entire summer certainly has.

Sometimes all I need to do is look at photos from cooler days to feel refreshed so I dug into my archives and found a few to share today.

Back in February there was still snow on the ground, ice on the water and Common Mergansers were at Farmington Bay WMA and some were sporting their breeding plumage. Common Mergansers have long, reddish serrated bills that help them to grasp the fish they eat. The males have velvety, green heads while in breeding plumage and plenty of white feathers that contrast with their dark backs, green heads and red bills.

Common Merganser in icy water at Farmington BayCommon Merganser in icy water at Farmington Bay – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 250, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

These streamlined birds dive and chase after their prey underwater.  They also look streamlined while in flight and move so quickly through the air that I have very few images of them in flight.

Here in northern Utah I see mergansers more often during winter and spring than any other time of the year, the Common Mergansers do not breed here and neither do their close relatives the Red-breasted Mergansers.

I’ll be happy to see cooler days soon along with the birds that will be showing up here in northern Utah that I haven’t seen in a while.

Life is good.

Mia

5 Comments

  1. Heather September 1, 2017 at 10:02 am

    Lovely pictures. I always find the male the hardest to photograph as there is so much contract between the dark green and the white. I’m constantly blowing out the white and looking the eye in the dark green. Great job

  2. Laura Culley August 30, 2017 at 5:10 pm

    Like you, I’m looking forward to Fall. Thankfully, my area is a consistent 10-ish degrees cooler than Phoenix, but when they get in BIG heat, it really doesn’t matter that much. Yeah, it’s a dry heat in Arizona–like an oven 😉
    Thank you for the cooling thoughts today.

  3. Elephants Child August 30, 2017 at 1:36 pm

    There is nothing, but nothing common about these birds. I often wonder about those with ‘naming rights’.
    Glorious photo, of a beautiful bird. Thank you.

    • Laura Culley August 30, 2017 at 5:08 pm

      EC, I wonder the same thing. Mariah told me a long time ago that “common” is NOT a word to be applied to redtail hawks–plentiful, numerous or abundant works, but common? I think NOT! That word carries meanings that just do NOT work, and the same goes for mergansers! I mean, really. Makes you wonder about humans, doesn’t it?

  4. LSClemens August 30, 2017 at 6:19 am

    Fall will be here soon. Hope you will get lots of waterfowl.

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