An exciting moment the day I located the crocuses, but that wasn’t the only thing I came across that day. In all my years living in S.E. Manitoba, and my father being an experienced duck hunter, this hooded Merganser popped out of a beautiful, hidden greenish coloured pond in the middle of the Manitoba swamplands. I thought I was photographing a Loon because it was so far away. But when I arrived home and downloaded my photos, I couldn’t believe my eyes.
“Hooded” is something of an understatement for this extravagantly crested little duck. Adult males are a sight to behold, with sharp black-and-white patterns set off by chestnut flanks. Females get their own distinctive elegance from their cinnamon crest. Hooded Mergansers are fairly common on small ponds and rivers, where they dive for fish, crayfish, and other food, seizing it in their thin, serrated bills. They nest in tree cavities; the ducklings depart with a bold leap to the forest floor when only one day old.