River report

Still chilly here, but you can’t fool a duck. Two male buffleheads chasing each other around, feeling the start of mating season. Buffleheads fly back to the Arctic to nest and raise chicks, but they start the process down here. Not a female in sight, but still, after they finished arguing over fishing rights (which argument included the losing duck diving, twice, and the winning one diving to chase him up from underwater) and the loser flew away, the winner did the dip-the-head-and-preen thing they show off with. Nobody around to be impressed with him but me.


Not a great photo, but: Da Winnah!

A little later, four red-breasted mergansers paddled by, with their seagull escort. The gulls don’t like the ducks — the gulls don’t like anybody, really — but they often hang around the diving ones because they bring up fish and occasionally drop them. The male mergansers were both showing off for the same female, while the other female just swam on, probably wondering when she’d become chopped liver.


Small flock


Showing off


Seagull escort


  1. carrie says:

    great photos; love their little head feathers!

  2. Michael. says:

    Thanks for the photos. Now I know the difference between a bufflehead and a merganser and a seagull.

  3. SJ Rozan says:

    Glad you like the pix. Further bird i.d. points, for Michael and others: that’s a male bufflehead; females are brown. Buffleheads are shaped like bathtub toys. The mergansers are the red-breasted, not the common. How to tell? Forget the red breast, which is hard to see in the water; it’s that they have the better head gear. The gull is a young one, under a year, thus all the spots.

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