This male and female Hooded Merganser pair were one of the most colorful birds I photographed at Lake Mattamuskeet Wildlife Refuge in eastern North Carolina. A small fish-eating duck of wooded ponds, the Hooded Merganser nests in holes in trees. It is frequently seen on shallow waters where its only waterfowl companion is the Wood Duck. In the winter months, thousands of Tundra Swans, Canada and Snow Geese, pintails, black ducks, and mallards are seen on Lake Mattamuskeet, as well as less numerous species of waterfowl. Osprey nest in low Cypress trees near the water’s edge, and it is not unusual to see a Bald Eagle circling overhead or resting in a tree a safe distance from human traffic.
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