Feb. 2/05 - As far as I'm concerned, the male Common Merganser is one of the most difficult birds to photograph. First, they keep their distance and if you try to get close, it's adios. Second, black and white - I underexpose for the white body, but if there's a dark background, the head disappears. I finally got my chance to get close, and I did find the occasional light background. Out of about 50 shots, about 40 were deleted because of dark backgrounds. But, I had my best images in 2 years to share with you.

INTIMIDATING WEAPON? - My camera might be a conversation piece for humans, but for the ducks it probably looked like a cannon. It took awhile for the Mergansers to trust me and decide to relax and stay much to my delight.

BACK TO NORMAL - Once they were relaxed, it was back to their normal routine of bathing, preening, eating, and enjoying the sun.

LETTING DOWN THE GUARD - The Mergansers always look so tense and businesslike. It was fun to see one lighten up and even smile for the camera. That is a ducky smile isn't it?

RUBBER DUCKY! - While the Mergansers were uneasy, the carefree little Bufflehead bounced around the pond like a baby's bathtub toy.

IN A CLASS OF ITS OWN - The Ring-necked duck always look so dapper and dignified in its sophisticated black tuxedo. Penguins shop at the same store.

A TEAL WITH APPEAL - It's difficult to get a good look at the green-wing Teals as they are usually half-submergerged in the water. However, if your are lucky enough to get close, you'll see a beautiful array of spots, lines, stripes, and colours.

Feb. 5/05 - With the promise of breakfast and lunch out, I convinced my wife that we should do a little half day birding trip to Deep Bay. As the sun was threatening to shine, I thought I might finally get some sunny pictures of the Longtails off the Spit. The sun did shine and the waters were a calm, deep blue. There were lots of ducks - Longtails, Scaups, Scoters, Bufflehead, Harlequin, Goldeneye and a few other seabirds, but they were just a little too far out for the perfect shots. I'm posting a few pictures, but I'll be trying again. Maybe I need to improvise a little duck blind?

"> or <"? - After an exhaustive study of my Sibley's and internet photos, I'll tentatively call these Lesser Scaup. However, I'll gladly defer to any expert opinion.

SURPRISE VISITORS - I was so focussed on the activities of the Longtails that I almost missed a pair of Horned grebes that cruised right in front of me.

MAIN ATTRACTION - The Long-tailed Ducks at Deep Bay are always fun to visit. Today the flock was up to about 24. If they would just come in about 20 feet closer, I could really get some good pictures. Like I said in the intro, I'll try to improvise a duck blind next time.