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These are the same Hooded Mergansers that I wrote about two weeks ago. This small group has remained on the pond longer than any others of their kind, this fall, no doubt living on small crustaceans and aquatic insects they find by diving.

Their favored prey, the small Bluegills, are now scarce in the pond, as regular readers well know. Perhaps their continued presence is a sign of returning normalcy, after the traumatic sunfish die-off last March. The noisy gulls are coming back, too.

On a recent gray morning, two drakes and two hens came close enough to shore to let me take their pictures. The drakes favored me with a take-off while I was shooting. Most ducks are fast in flight, but these guys are really fast, reaching speeds of almost fifty miles an hour. The entire sequence was over in just three seconds!

If you look closely in frame four, you can just see the prominent, white wing bars visible in flight.

The photos were taken late in the morning of November 27, 2012.

See related posts: Mobbing Mergs, Mergs Near Shore.

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