Red-breasted Mergansers at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on March 16, 2017

A quick walk through Lakeshore State Park provided a couple nice views of the few ducks present there. They were Red-breasted Mergansers. Most ducks have moved north with spring around the corner but there are always a few that linger. A full sun day with temps finally above freezing, low winds made for a nice morning for a stroll through the park. Images were taken on March 16, 2017.

Red-breasted Merganser, female just after preening on the shore

Red-breasted Merganser, female just after preening on the shore

Red-breasted Merganser

Binomial name: Mergus serrator

Category: Ducks, Geese, and Swans

Size: 23” long, 30” wing span

Weight: 2.3 lb

Red-breasted Merganser, male just cruising on by

Red-breasted Merganser, male just cruising on by…

Red-breasted Merganser at South Shore Yacht Club in Milwaukee Wisconsin on February 12, 2017

It was quiet on the lakefront in Milwaukee this morning. Only thing I could come up with for a few shots was a female Red-breasted Merganser at South Shore Yacht Club. It did extensive preening  and then went on to relax. It hung out with about 50 Mallards that were also just taking a break with the high winds. Other birds to note, the Ross’s Goose was still hanging around Veteran’s Park and Hooded Merganser, male was off in a distance at the yacht club. Temps were low 40’s with sun but had wind gusts from 35-40 mph so it was just not a pleasant day out there. A warm up is on the way, maybe some new birds will be found along with that change. Images were taken on February 12, 2017.

Red-breasted Merganser, female

Red-breasted Merganser, female

Red-breasted Merganser

Binomial name: Mergus serrator

Category: Ducks, Geese, and Swans

Size: 23” long, 30” wing span

Weight: 2.3 lb

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Preening

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Shaking off!

Heading to the water

Into the water...

Into the water…

Preening

Preening

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Resting

Resting

They are always watching what is going on around them, weather it is another duck or just you!

Usually on the lookout

Red-breasted Mergansers at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on January 17, 2017

I did some birding along the lakefront this morning in Milwaukee. Many diving ducks were present in the harbor and a few Red-breasted Mergansers were within lens range. Other ducks and 100’s of them were Greater Scaup and Common Goldeneyes. Ice just left the harbor in the last day or so with rain that moved in so ducks were very active feeding on mussles. It was a dark gloomy day and temps were around 33-34 degrees. A light wind made it feel winter like. Images were taken on January 17, 2017

Red-breasted Merganser, male, shaking off!

Red-breasted Merganser, male, shaking off!

Red-breasted Merganser

Binomial name: Mergus serrator

Category: Ducks, Geese, and Swans

Size: 23” long, 30” wing span

Weight: 2.3 lb

Red-breasted Merganser, female

Red-breasted Merganser, female

Red-breasted Merganser, male

Red-breasted Merganser, male

Red-breasted Merganser, male, partial stretch

Red-breasted Merganser, male, partial stretch

Red-breasted Merganser, male

Red-breasted Merganser, male

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Red-breasted Merganser, female

Red-breasted Merganser, male at takeoff!

Red-breasted Merganser, male at takeoff!

Red-breasted Merganser

Red-breasted Mergansers on the Fox River in Waukesha and at the mouth of the Milwaukee River on the Milwaukee Lakefront. Other species present were Greater Scaups and the Common Goldeneyes. The ice was starting to break up well and move around inside the breakwall with temps in the low 50’s, warmest it has been since approximately November 1st 2013. The ducks look gorgeous this time of year! Images were taken on March 10, 2014.

Red-breasted Merganser - Male

Red-breasted Merganser – Male

Red-breasted Merganser

Binomial name: Mergus serrator

Category: Duck, Geese, and Swans

Size: 23” long, 30” wing span

Weight: M 1.56 lbs., F 1.52 lbs.

Habitat:  Lakes and ponds surrounded by woodlands also tundra ponds.

Diet: The Red-breasted Merganser dives for its main diet fish, but also eats, insects, crustaceans and tadpoles.

Nesting:  Nesting sites are depressions in the ground. They can be located under a large rock, within dense shrub, under a pile of driftwood near water. Nests usually contain 5-11 olive colored eggs, they leave the nest in 1 or 2 days.

Cool facts: The breeding region for the Red-breasted Merganser is farther north than any other American merganser.

Red-breasted Merganser - Male

Red-breasted Merganser – Male

Red-breasted Merganser Stretching - Male

Red-breasted Merganser stretching – Male

Red-breasted Merganser Stretching - Male

Red-breasted Merganser stretching – Male

Red-breasted Merganser Shaking Off - Male

Red-breasted Merganser shaking off – Male

Red-breasted Merganser Preening - Male

Red-breasted Merganser preening – Male

Red-breasted Merganser Preening - Male

Red-breasted Merganser preening – Male

Red-breasted Merganser - Male

Red-breasted Merganser – Male

Red-breasted Merganser Preening - Male

Red-breasted Merganser preening – Male

Red-breasted Merganser Preening - Male

Red-breasted Merganser preening – Male

Red-breasted Merganser a pair! - Males

Red-breasted Merganser a pair, relax mode – Males

Red-breasted Merganser stretching in water - Male

Red-breasted Merganser stretching in water – Male

Red-breasted Merganser - female

Red-breasted Merganser – Female

Red-breasted Merganser - Female

Red-breasted Merganser – Female

Lesser Scaup - Male

Greater Scaup – Male

Lesser Scaup - Male

Greater Scaup – Male

Lesser Scaup - Female

Greater Scaup – Female

Lesser Scaup - Female

Greater Scaup – Female

Lesser Scaup stretching - Male

Greater Scaup stretching – Male

Common Goldeneye - Male, 1st winter

Common Goldeneye – Male, 1st winter

Common Goldeneye - Male, 1st winter

Common Goldeneye – Male, 1st winter

Red-throated Loons Milwaukee River Mouth, Milwaukee Lakefront, February 23, 2014

The area of the mouth of the Milwaukee River on the Milwaukee Lakefront produced 3 Red-throated Loons. Some of the other species present and photographed were White-winged Scoters, Common Goldeneyes, Red-breasted Mergansers, and Greater Scaups.

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Red-throated Loon

Red-throated Loon

Binomial name: Gavia stellata

Category: Loons

Description: Dark gray feathers with a white throat and underparts, small black and white strips on the back of its neck.  In breeding season, the throat turns red, thus the name.  Small bill which fluctuates between black and dark gray.

Size: 21” – 27” long, 36” – 47” wingspan

Weight: 2.2 lbs. – 6.0 lbs.

Habitat: Large lakes, coastal shorelines, inland rivers, and reservoirs.

Diet: Primarily fish, occasionally crustaceans, frogs, and aquatic invertebrates, rarely plants

Nesting: Both parents build the nest out of a mudscrape lined with plant material and some feathers.  The male will stand guard while the female incubates the eggs (2 eggs per clutch).  Both parents feed and raise the young and participate in distraction displays to lure predators away from the nest.  Mating pairs will breed for life.

Notes: Unlike other loon species which must take flight by running on the surface of water, the Red-throated Loon can fly directly from land or water.  It also does not carry its young on its back.

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Red-throated Loon

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Red-throated Loon

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Red-throated Loon

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Red-throated Loon

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Red-throated Loon

White-winged Scoter

White-winged Scoter

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Female Common Goldeneye

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Male Common Goldeneye

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Male Red-breasted Merganser

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Female Red-breasted Merganser

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Male Greater Scaup

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Male Greater Scaup