Common Mergansers Landing & Lifting Off

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Common Mergansers in flight in front of Mount OlympusCommon Mergansers in flight in front of Mount Olympus – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/2000, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Yesterday afternoon while photographing birds at my local pond I spotted some Common Mergansers flying in front of Mount Olympus that appeared to be getting ready to come in for a landing so I took two photos of them flying in while they were high in the sky. I liked having Mount Olympus in the background of this frame.

Common Mergansers coming in for a landingCommon Mergansers coming in for a landing – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1000, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Then as the ducks descended I tracked them through my lens until they were not far above the surface of the pond before I started taking images of them again. I didn’t want houses in the background and by waiting I avoided that.

I like the wingtips slicing through the water in this frame. I didn’t haven quite enough depth of field to get both birds sharply in focus but at this point I didn’t have time to change my aperture or I would have missed them actually landing.

Two Common Mergansers about to land on a pondTwo Common Mergansers about to land on a pond – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1600, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

I saw four of the Common Mergansers coming in for a landing but I couldn’t get all four of them in focus and in the frame so I locked on to these two birds as they started to slow down over the water.

Common Mergansers sliding in for a landingCommon Mergansers sliding in for a landing – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1600, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

I’ve wanted to photograph mergansers, Common or Red-breasted, as their webbed feet touch down on the water during landing because they look like they are water skiing and yesterday I succeeded in capturing that precise moment in this frame and both birds were in focus. Jackpot!

The time was 3:35 pm.

Common Mergansers running to lift offCommon Mergansers running to lift off – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

The Common Mergansers hunted, caught fish and swam around the far side of the pond for just under an hour and as the sun started to slide towards the horizon I could see through my lens that two of the mergansers appeared to be getting ready to lift off from the pond by observing their behavior. The time was 4:29 pm, the light was sweet and golden on the birds and the pond as they began to run across the surface of the water to get enough momentum to lift off and take flight.

Common Mergansers lifting off from a pondCommon Mergansers lifting off from a pond – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Because I was inside a “mobile blind” I knew I wasn’t going to be able to turn far enough to my left to photograph the mergansers after they took flight but I am okay with that because the lift off photos with the birds and pond in that golden light were enough for me.

I’m over the moon that I was able to photograph these Common Mergansers landing and lifting off from the pond yesterday and I am pleased with the photos I took.

Life is good.

Mia

PS: Yesterday the email that is automatically sent out to viewers who have signed up to be notified when I publish a post didn’t arrive in my inbox and I am not sure it was sent out at all, in case it wasn’t please take a look at yesterday’s post to see a unique photo of a Pied-billed Grebe & crayfish along with other photos I have taken over the past few weeks of the grebes catching crayfish.

9 Comments

  1. Ken Schneider December 28, 2017 at 1:26 pm

    I especially liked the water-ski photos and the wingtip slicing the water.

  2. Pepe Forte December 28, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    Fabulous pics Mia. The movement you captured is simply astounding! Thanks.

  3. Elephants Child December 28, 2017 at 11:37 am

    Brilliant series. I love the first and the fourth (where the brakes are obviously on full lock) in particular.

  4. April Olson December 28, 2017 at 10:53 am

    Beautiful, I love watching mergansers. I am so jealous of your near by pond!
    I spent the afternoon photographing wild turkeys in the snow. It is a challenge on a bright sunny day. None of my photos turned out well I think I will try again this afternoon. I also discovered I don’t anticipate turkey behavior as well as other birds. They behave differently perhaps it is due to their familiarity with humans they live by.

  5. Liz Cormack December 28, 2017 at 8:03 am

    You should be happy. Great series of photos.

  6. Patty Chadwick one of my favorite birds December 28, 2017 at 7:40 am

    Bird ballet….beautiful!!!

  7. Laura Culley December 28, 2017 at 7:28 am

    Oh MY!! What a glorious series! You SHOULD be very happy with these images. And don’t you just love how your camera can catch such amazing slices of time? (I know you do!).

  8. Jo Smith December 28, 2017 at 7:21 am

    I wondered about that as it showed up on fb so I still got to enjoy the little grebe.

  9. LSClemens December 28, 2017 at 5:28 am

    Great series!

Comments are closed.