Today I checked a river nearby, while looking for Common Goldeneye, and I was very pleased to find a pair of Hooded Mergansers there! They didn't stay in the partially opened river long but the small amount of time I did see them was just enough to take some pictures and acknow -ledge their presence there as another sign of returning migrants.
The first time I had seen Hooded Mergansers I was totally fascinated by their beauty. I had been driving home one day in late March, sometime in the early 2000's maybe, and I had caught a glimpse of a Hooded male in a river while driving across an old stone bridge beside a railroad track.
I immediately pulled over onto the shoulder and grabbed for my camera. I could see they had swam further up the stream, near an old flat railroad bridge, and so I hiked up the tracks and sat on the bridge for an half hour or so and just watched, completely in awe of this wonderful wildlife discovery. Since that first sighting I now seek them out each spring and even know of some locations where I can probably see a few. I checked through my old photos and found some that are my favourites. These last three photos in this post were taken in 2006.