Sunday, January 17, 2010

Hoodie Heaven

I went down to Gooseneck Cove today and discovered that Hooded Mergansers were still down there in full force. There were about a dozen today, equally divided between male and female. Twelve birds doesn't sound like much, and I know that bigger groups have been counted in different coves and backwaters along Narragansett Bay, but this is unusual for Gooseneck Cove this late in the season. We usually see large groups of Hoodies on the Cove in November, but then they've usually split up and headed for other calm salt waters elsewhere for the rest of the Winter. I think the restoration project from last Winter that improved the tidal salt flow farther up the Cove has brought us this new influx of Hoodies, and I hope to see more in the future. Here are today's two best shots.

Of course, Hoodies weren't the only birds on the water. There were also four Red-breasted Mergansers, two drakes and two hens. Here's one of the hens.

There were a bunch of Mallards out today as well, and lo and behold, swimming among them was Ol' Blue Beak. That's the name a couple of us have given a hybrid Mallard-Northern Pintail drake who's been showing up on Gooseneck Cove for the last several years. He has Mallard colors arranged in Pintail markings, as well as the Pintail's blue beak and long, curled tail-feathers. Here he is in all his glory.

© 2010 by A. Roy Hilbinger


  1. Hooded Mergansers are just so striking--the black and white in large blocks. I love watching them. You're lucky you can get so close.

    p.s. When do we get to see you Zorro mask/hat again! :-)

  2. I am wild for that Merganser. Her hairdo is just like mine!!

    I also love the positive/negative patterns in that first photo. Very striking.

  3. They're cute little things. They look like those bobbly dogs that you put on the back shelf of your car! I did some duck spotting yesterday but the photos were crap thanks to a large waterborne dog deciding a crunch in the bulrushes was way too much fun!