This Hooded Merganser was outnumbered, by Common Gallinules of all things. Gallinules tend to stick to the edges of any waterway and mind their own business except for their cackling squawks which always alerts the whole area to a photographer’s presence. Or so I thought.
The Gallinules quickly got into the Merganser’s space.
He tried out paddling them.
They followed so the Merganser opted to put some extra distance between them.
The Common Gallinules have reproduced much later in the summer than the other water birds in this area. Through the end of August we spotted a few families around the rice ponds and marsh areas.
Awkward, like most young, these chicks are covered with fuzz which picked up the duck weed, making them look even sillier. Members of the Rallidae family, they do swim even though their feet are not webbed and I usually see them just floating or wading.
One of the adults came closer when the chicks ventured into the deeper water to supervise.
At least one juvenile Alligator was nearby and while I don’t think they can catch or eat even the small Gallinule chicks, I’m sure mom wasn’t far away.