You just never know where you might encounter birds!
That's why when I'm outdoors for any length of time I try to remember to bring my camera, even if it's just putting it in the car.
I was glad that I did this in December when I went on a Sunday morning run in North Charleston's Palmetto Commerce Parkway, a light industrial area near my home.
I chose to run in an area of the industrial park I had not been in before. While running by a holding pond, I spotted a pair of Hooded Mergansers, waterfowl that migrate south in the fall and winter from as far north as Canada.
Hoodies, as they are called for short, are one of my favorite winter visitors. They come to Charleston's Magnolia Cemetery as early as October and November and often stay into March.
The male is especially striking with all the white markings, especially on his head. And I love the small yellow eyes too.
The female has more solid coloring, but she is very striking in her own way.
Snowy Egret had joined the Hoodies.
The Snowy is a very beautiful wading bird known for its yellow "slippers."
But that's one of the great things about the bird photography hobby: unexpected surprises and encounters like this.
So always keep nearby that good camera with the long lens!