I woke up this rainy morning to see four wild ducks in our pond. It's always exciting to have wild waterfowl visit the pond. I grabbed my bird guides and set about identifying our aquatic guests.
I have two bird books: "Smithsonian Handbooks Birds of North America Eastern Region" and "The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America". I like the Smithsonian book slightly better because it uses actual photographs of the bird which makes it slightly easier for me to identify. I also like the feature at the bottom of each page that allows you to write down where and when you saw the bird.
The first pair is two Ring-Necked Duck drakes. I assume they are last year's hatchlings and unmated bachelors. They were relaxing and enjoying themselves, diving now and then for a bite to eat.
The second pair were a much smaller pair of Hooded Mergansers. These little ducks are just adorable. Mr. Merganser has a very dapper hat and pin striped suit. Mrs. Merganser looks a bit tousled, but has very interesting stripes and patches of rusty browns. What a pretty pair of ducks!