Friday, January 15, 2016

Hooded Mergansers Encounter

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.

Upon finishing my run, I prepared my camera and monopod, then drove a short distance, in hopes the birds would still be on that pond. Lucky for me they were!

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.

In this photo, I like how the pair is lined up and looking in opposite directions.

The female has more solid coloring, but she is very striking in her own way.

I received a nice bonus when I returned to the holding pond. This Snowy Egret had joined the Hoodies.

The Snowy is a very beautiful wading bird known for its yellow "slippers."

What an unexpected delight this run-turned- birding adventure turned out to be!

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!
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