Mergs Chilling Out

One of the neat things about birding locally is that you can combine it with other errands – and since most of us carry binoculars and camera with us, the trick is to stay on the road while scanning the trees for birds.

Vermont has a law against texting while driving – we don’t want to instigate a “no birding while driving” although Mary has had to warn me a few times as I drifted while saying, “Is that a crow or a hawk?”  No, you don’t want to add a Subaru to your life list!

We were picking up some items yesterday downtown and checking out the Winooski River for mergansers.  Most of the river is frozen but there are still some open spots.  Mary was checking for me but we had no luck and headed westward for a coffee stop at Red Hen Bakery in Middlesex.  We then continued up Route 2 to look for gulls at Grow Compost.  As we crossed a bridge, I noted that the Winooski was ice-free so we swung down a dead end dirt road called Lover’s Lane.  I immediately noticed a couple of small ducks feeding in the icy water.  We pulled off to the side (there’s little traffic except for the residents) and I took a few photos, first with the Powershot and then, getting the scope out, digiscoping with my point and shoot.  These were County Bird #20.

The two female Hooded Mergansers were feeding -- on was wrestling with a small fish as I was getting the camera ready.

The two female Hooded Mergansers were feeding — one was wrestling with a small fish as I was getting the camera ready.

They then stood on the ice at the edge of the river.

They then stood on the ice at the edge of the river.

Mergs2W

Finally, as I got them in the telescope, they tucked their bills into their downy coats and took a nap on the ice.

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