I was momentarily distracted by the Canada Goose With A Treasure while watching the two Hooded Merganser drakes show off. When I reverted my attention to the ducks I saw that a few more females and another male had joined the party.
The three drakes performed tight circle maneuvers…
… that ended with a spirited chase.
The females lost interest and pretty soon they all casually swam to the other side of the pond, out of my view.
The second female toward the back got a little fancier with her tail action and the first one fluffed her crown up, showing a bit more interest.
The male-male competition got a little heated.
Then the female flattened herself, keeping her head under water for a bit, presumably to express interest in the males’ dance. I’d not seen this behavior before, and at one point wondered how long she could stay submerged.
They circled around her several times while the second female moved on.
This possibly is a female Hooded Merganser. I didn’t see her in the water and don’t see them often enough to really know. The Merlin app suggested an Anhinga, which it clearly is not. That was the first time I’ve had that app be way off base.
There was a small flock of Mergansers milling around in a an adjacent pond, in water that took on an odd color reflection.
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 same pair of Hooded Mergansers as yesterday’s post had places to go as they were out for a swim around one of Magnolia Cemetery’s ponds. The male gradually caught up to the female as they passed this group of Mallards on the edge of a small island.
The Mergansers weren’t in such a hurry that they chose to fly, but they didn’t divert even as the Mallards went about their preening and flapping.
The Mergansers continued on their way, the female in the lead, headed out into the middle of the pond.
The Hooded Mergansers tend to be shy and I usually see them retreating shortly after I spot them. I happened to be sitting on a low wall watching a pond when these two swam by me, close enough to get a shot.
The brown reeds and grasses of late winter made a golden glow on the water, a nice complement to these gorgeous ducks. The male is certainly flashier, especially when he has his hood up, but the female is an understated beauty.