Low light drake Hooded Merganser on the Bear River – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/160, ISO 1000, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Earlier this month I stopped to take photos of a drake Hooded Merganser floating on the Bear River before the sun lit up that part of the refuge. The drake merganser was in his finest breeding plumage. He stood out well from the ice and reflections on the open water.

Even though the light was low and the Hooded Merganser was a good distance from me I decided that I wanted to take images of him. I also wanted to relax, savor the moment and just be in nature with him. I wasn’t in a rush.

As the drake merganser slowly and silently swam towards several merganser hens up river I took a series of images of him. After taking my photos of him I put my camera down and soaked in the winter morning view. I could feel myself unwind.

Hooded Mergansers do not breed in Utah and they will soon be on the wing towards their breeding grounds. After these mergansers leave I know I won’t see them again until sometime next fall unless I head north into Idaho or Montana.

I needed the time I spent simply observing this drake Hooded Merganser just as much as I need the air I breathe. I’m glad I took it.

Life is good.


Even though it is still pitch dark outside I can see that there is a light skiff of snow on the ground again this morning.

Click here to see more of my Hooded Merganser photos plus facts and information about this species.


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Journalist specialized in online marketing as Social Media Manager. I help professionals and companies to become more Internet and online reputation, which allows to give life to the Social Media Strategies defined for the Company, and thus immortalize brands, products and services. I have participated as an exhibitor in various forums nationally and internationally, I am the author of several articles in digital magazines and Blogs.


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