Photographing the Goosander a Very Special Duck
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Photographing the Goosander, a Very Special Duck

For many of us, the duck we all know (and love?) is the widespread Mallard. You possibly can see it throughout the world: Europe, Asia, North America, and it has even been launched to Australia and New Zealand. However at present I’m going to introduce you to a duck that’s completely different in some ways. Meet the Goosander, also called the Frequent Merganser.

The Goosander is considered one of the six members of the genus Mergus, which lives primarily in the northern hemisphere. I take advantage of the phrase primarily as a result of there may be one member south of the equator, the Brazilian Merganser. However this duck is so critically endangered that I concern that if I have been to put in writing this text a few years from now, I must exchange the phrase “primarily” with “completely.”

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NIKON D500 + Nikon AF-S Nikkor 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR @ 500mm, ISO 1600, 1/2500, f/5.6

In the headline, I said that the Goosander is a very particular duck. Why is that? Partly, it’s the fowl’s buoyancy.

An odd duck, reminiscent of a Mallard, floats above the water. When it wants to achieve underwater crops or small animals on which it feeds, it solely partially submerges. This enables land-based observers to admire its stunning, nicely, let’s say, tail.

In the meantime, the Goosander can dive utterly and keep underwater for as much as a minute. It’s as agile below water as a Cormorant and, like the Cormorant, its most important meals is fish. The form of its invoice is customized to snag slippery prey, with a hook at the finish and tiny tooth round the edge.

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NIKON D500 + Nikon AF-S Nikkor 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR @ 500mm, ISO 640, 1/800, f/5.6

Like pelicans and even dolphins, Goosanders work collectively when looking. They’ve been noticed forming a semicircle round colleges of fish, chasing them into shallower water the place they’re simpler to catch.

Relating to nesting, a Goosander resembles a woodpecker or owl. In contrast to the Mallard, which nests on the floor, the Goosander chooses a cavity in a tree. It will possibly’t carve one itself, so it is dependent upon the woodpecker’s obsession with drilling! Alternatively, it would discover pure cavities in a tree during which to nest.

Such a nest might be fairly excessive above the floor. Nonetheless, Goosander ducklings have to seek out their very own meals, so finally they haven’t any alternative however to leap out of the nest. Once they do, they fly no higher than a pine cone. But they often survive unhurt to proceed their journey.

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NIKON D500 + Nikon AF-S Nikkor 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR @ 350mm, ISO 2000, 1/500, f/5.6

Even the care of the ducklings is a little completely different from duck stereotypes. Sure, the feminine Goosander, like different geese, guides her ducklings via the water and warns them of hazard. However her care goes past that. As with Loons, the mom Goosander shouldn’t be solely a protector and information to her younger, but in addition a floating island. When the chicks are small, a complete “nursery” of them can match on their mom’s again, as you see in the picture above.

In truth, I didn’t actually need to place the phrase nursery in citation marks, as a result of Goosanders actually use the precept of this establishment! Once in a while, a number of ducklings from completely different moms will collect in a single place, supervised by a single feminine whereas the remainder of the moms are busy with foraging. Amongst birds, you’ll see one thing comparable in flamingos and penguins.

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NIKON D500 + Nikon AF-S Nikkor 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR @ 350mm, ISO 1250, 1/3200, f/6.3

I’ve at all times needed to at the very least see the feminine carrying the ducklings on her again, and even higher to {photograph} them. I obtained my likelihood a few years in the past in the heart of Prague. There, in the former royal recreation protect (a park referred to as Stromovka), I got here throughout a feminine together with her younger. Fortunately, I had my camera with me at the time. After I returned the subsequent day, the feminine and her chicks have been gone.

Whereas taking photos, I entertained the park guests by crawling via the shore vegetation like a clumsy male of a unusual species of freshwater seal. With my elbows in the water and my stomach in the mud, I attempted to get as near the water’s floor as potential. (In any case, the nearer to the floor you may get, the higher the background and foreground might be.) I in all probability would have carried out issues very in another way at present, however extra on that one other time.

To sum it up, Goosanders are geese that dive like cormorants, hunt like pelicans, nest like woodpeckers, and care for his or her younger like flamingos! Properly, it’s a must to admit, aren’t they exceptional geese?

#Photographing #Goosander #Special #Duck

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