It's not everyday that I get to see a Hooded Merganser. In fact this is only the second one and the first female that I have seen. This little female was found by a young birder in Paradise. He called and was so enthusiastic that I had to get and the car and go see it.
When I arrived the avid bird watcher was standing in the mist near the water's edge. He greeted me with the story of how he found it and that it had just been up on the wharf. I missed that.
I went as close to the water as possible without driving the bird even further away. It was already at a distance that made getting a clear picture impossible. The HM moved to the other side of the pond and eventually began to work its way back toward us.
In the meantime this very handsome Green-winged Teal swam toward us and hopped up on the rocks beside the water. I have seen a number of Green-winged Teal but never one so willing to get close. The ones that frequent Kelly's Brook flush at the snap of a twig.
Even in the dull light the colors on this bird were so rich. The mist continued to come and my feet were really wet. If it weren't for the entertainment of this great Teal, I probably wouldn't have lasted long enough for the Hooded Merganser to return to us.
Within 30 minutes it did work its way back but still did not come in close. It was clearly not accustomed to people. With the reflections off the water and the distance involved, I was lucky to get even get record shots. Despite the distance and the weather, it was still really nice to see this bird.
When I encounter the burst of excitement coming out of the newest birder in the St. John's birding community, it is impossible to mope around about getting wet. We talked all the while we were waiting for the merganser.
At one point he saw a large bird flying toward us from far across the pond. Immediately, he recognized that it wasn't a duck by the wing beats. He was so right... the Common Loon continued toward us and flew right over head.
It would be so nice to see more youth getting involved in bird watching to ensure that the great tradition of birding the Avalon continues well into the future. Maybe there should be some type of youth birding event scheduled.