Saturday, May 3, 2008

Pondful of Mergansers

On my way out to the Estensen farm today for one of the Goods for Good garage sales, I noticed quite a number of what were clearly not mallards on the first of the ponds off Woodley below Mayflower Hill. I pulled a U-ie and parked on the edge of the grass. I saw at least two male-female pairs of hooded mergansers (one such pair above and another below) and a whole bunch of females hanging out together (second photo below).

I'm always quite taken with the impressive white-patched crests of the males and the fluffy crests of the females, and I was impressed to see so many. Click on the photos for greater detail.

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John Tittle said...

We have a pond that usually has hundreds of goldfish in it year around. Through the years there has been a heron that comes occasionally to feed on them, not making a dent in the fish population. A couple of weeks ago a pair of hooded mergansers showed up. Within two days the mergansers moved on and there was not a fish left in the pond.
Right now on that same pond the toads are mating-- sounds funny, but it is a pretty impressive thing to see. There are hundreds of them calling all day and night. Each spring they do this for just three days. This year they started on may 7th. I wonder if they start at the same time in Northfield?

Penelope said...

I first heard frogs or toads (not sure which, though I had assumed frogs) this year from my car window last week -- probably on the 5th, as I think back. But I don't live right by a pond and haven't been listening systematically. Thanks for writing. I didn't know the hooded mergansers could eat so voraciously.