Readers’ wildlife photographs: Green heron and hooded merganser

January 8, 2014 • 1:30 am

Reader Pete Moulton took these lovely bird photos in Arizona. The notes below are his, and you can click on both photos to enlarge them.

Here are a couple of photos from my home patch in Phoenix that you might like. The little Green Heron is my all-time favorite avian subject, which I’ve probably mentioned before. The duck is a drake Hooded Merganser, which has been present at the same pond for about the last three weeks. He’s a bit of a rockstar, and dozens of birders have been to see and photograph him.

Green heron (Butorides virescens):

GRHE.6-29-13_Papago Pk_8914

Hooded merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus), male. Now that’s a duck!

HOME_12-21-13_Papago Pk_3772

I’ll add a photo of the female merganser (from Wikipedia) to show the striking sexual dimorphism:


17 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photographs: Green heron and hooded merganser

  1. Thanks, gbjames. They’re every bit as expressive as Roadrunners, but more colorful and a lot easier to find and photograph.

    1. Thanks, JBlilie. I took these with my trusty old Canon T1i and image-stabilizing 100-400mm lens. Both are full-frame shots at less than 300mm focal length.

  2. Nicely done!

    What part of the Valley did you find them? I’m pretty sure I’ve seen one of those ducks at the Zoo, but I don’t recall seeing the heron.


    1. Ben, these are both from the Papago Park ponds between the Zoo and the Botanical Garden. The little herons seem most numerous and easiest to see at the middle pond of the three. The merganser can be on any of the three ponds, but lately he’s been at the one nearest the Zoo most often. He’s a diver, so it may take some patience to find him.

      1. Ah — right next to Hole-in-the-Rock, one of my favorite parts of the Valley. Haven’t been there in a while…this could be a good excuse to make a pilgrimage….



  3. I’ve never seen these birds until now, and lately it seems the same couple of dozen sparrows are the only feathered friends flying around outside my window. I’d love it if these beautiful (and unusual in my experience) flyers came ’round for a long visit.

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