Diving Duck Blues

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As I walked along the river, I saw a disheveled, punky little fellow gliding north along the shoreline. A male red-breasted merganser.

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He glided, then dove, glided, then dove. Most of the time, I only caught the ripples.

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Then I’d have to wait, and scour the area to see where the little fellow would pop up next.

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This was a very active bird, who seemed to be enjoying life. I wondered what he was hunting down there. If he caught anything, I didn’t see it. But I did finally catch a few dives.

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The dives are extremely fast. One moment the bird is floating along, the next moment it’s gone. I hope these shots convey a sense of the speed and power of the dives.

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That “hair” just won’t stay down.

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On my way back, about half a mile south, I spotted the female of the pair.

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She was serene, gliding along and not diving at all.

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The mergansers put me in mind of Diving Duck Blues:

“If the river was whiskey and I was a diving duck,
I’d dive to the bottom, and I’d never come up.”

Maybe that’s what was getting the little merganser so excited.
Listen to Taj Mahal tell you about it:

Explore posts in the same categories: 2013, Birds, In the City, NYC Parks, Riverside Park, Seasons, Spring, Wildlife/Natural History

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4 Comments on “Diving Duck Blues”


  1. LOVE the pictures of the mergansers mid-dive. Those are perfectly timed to the split second. I’ve tried to get footage of them re-emerging from their dive, but it’s just impossible to guess where they’re going to come up. If any of your readers have tips about that, let me know! ;-)


    • Glad they looked perfectly timed. You should see all the photos of ripples, though! ANd, yes, I too was unable to predict where the bird would pop up next. Sometimes it was very close to where he went under, and other times much farther than I would have expected. The only predictable thing was he just continued heading north along the river, occasionally moving further offshore, but never turned to go south. Probably a matter of how the current was flowing, but interesting.


  2. Waking to the blues! What a concept – loved this cut but loved the diving merganser even more… all punked out! Great shots Melissa – you’ve got a fast trigger finger!


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