Readers’ wildlife photos

February 18, 2023 • 8:15 am

Please send in your good wildlife photos.

Today Doug Hayes from Richmond, Virginia send us some non-bird-feeder birds, so they’re not part of “The Breakfast Crew” series. These are, he says, “bonus birds.”  Doug’s captions and narration are indented, and you can click on his photos to enlarge them. One thing about the bird feeders is that they don’t attract DUCKS, but we have some this week—lovely mergansers.

I had not been to the lake at Forest Hill Park in some time, so yesterday I grabbed my camera and headed out to see what was happening there. To my surprise, there was a pair of hooded mergansers (Lophodytes cucullatus) at the far end of the lake. This is the first time I have seen these ducks in the city: normally, one has to go to the more rural parts of the outlying counties to find them. The male and female were lazily paddling around the lake, taking turns diving for food. On one of her dives, the female snagged a freshwater mussel or snail. It was pretty large, but she managed to swallow it.

The male hooded merganser showing his impressive crest before it got wet and plastered to his head from diving for food:

The female hooded merganser showing off her spiky hairdo:

Just cruising around the lake:

Camera shy:

On one of her dives, the female came up with a snail or freshwater mussel:

Her catch looked to be about the size of a ping-pong ball, but she was determined to eat it:

Almost there:

Down the hatch!


Camera info:  Sony A7RV, Sony FE 200-600 zoom lens + 1.4X teleconverter. All shots handheld.

8 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. Loved the photo “cruising around the lake.” Ducks are looking for all the world like social-influencers, allowing themselves to be seen by their adoring fans.

  2. Fun photos…man, those mergansers must have a good digestive system to break down that mussel. Or maybe it was a snail which don’t have as hard a shell.

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