Sitting on the bench in Lost Lagoon the other day I was treated to the appearance of the Common Merganser. He swam back and forth in front of the bench, along with some Mallards and Coots, now and again straying off but always returning. I thought this to be very unusual as CMs are usually quite shy and flighty. I finally twigged on to his boldness; I was unwittingly scrunching some plastic in my backpack as I removed the hand warmers from their packaging and putting them in my pockets to keep my gloveless fingers warm. The Merganser kept coming close as heard the crinkle of the plastic like a dog or cat with a package of treats. I tested this by letting him paddle away and then scrunched the plastic in a tantalizing manner. Sure enough, he did an about-face and motored back to me. Spoiled bird.
Nevermind the Mallards looking so cute at my feet with their soft, soulful eyes. Don't do the blinky thing with me. You aren't starving, Mr. Glossy.
A visit today in the drizzle at Cates Park brought us to a flock of Common Mergansers patrolling just offshore for food. They paddled along, full steam, with heads underwater. Now, these birds were shy and fidgety, definitely keeping an eye on us as they cruised by. We hunkered down with the dog between us to seem less intrusive.
A little further off were Pelagic Cormorants, showing their white side bum patches as they dove for food.