Friday, January 30, 2009

Fauna at Casa Flamingo

Here at Casa Flamingo the wildlife flourishes. We have deer (sorry, no pic). We have coyotes (sorry, no pic -- I was so freaked out when I saw it I couldn't move). We have osprey (see my second post in November). We have water moccasins (sorry, no pic, but Chance, who's been bitten and lived to tell can vouch for me on this one). We have fruit rats (trust me, you don't want to see a picture). We have squirrels (do you really need a pic?). We have coral snakes (again, no pic and I understand if you're starting to doubt my depiction of Casa Flamingo as some vast nature preserve). We have alligators (I ought to be able to get a pic of that for you, but we live in Florida, so why would you doubt me on this one? People living in subdivisions here wake up with alligators on their lanais all the time). We have otters (my favorite, and I keep trying to get pics of these guys, but they aren't cooperating). And of course we have all the other usual birds you see in Florida.

But we've had some new arrivals and for the past month I've been wanting to share pictures of them with you because they're so pretty. You've seen my pictures, so you won't be surprised that this is the best I could do:

M R Ducks.

M R Not.

O S M R.

M R Hooded Mergansers. See the long thin bill and the wacky axe-shaped head? See how fast they're swimming away? Dang ducks won't sit still long enough for me to get a decent picture.

About 6 weeks ago, those two showed up and I had a hard time figuring out what they were. Up close (that is, looking out the kitchen window so they can't see me watching them), they look like this:

(Heavens no, I didn't take that picture) I'd never seen this particular species of duck in our creek before, so I needed to look them up. Those two were joined a few weeks later by two more who were much prettier, but who also wouldn't let me close enough to get a good picture, so I had to find a picture of them somewhere else:

That's one good looking duck. That's what he looks like with his crest lowered. Here he is in all his "I'm looking for a hoochie-duckie-mama" glory:

Apparently, female ducks find big foreheads attractive. That's what I learned in my research about hooded mergansers -- the females are the ugly plain ones and the males are the gorgeous ones with the big foreheads. Figures.

It also appears that word has gotten around in the hooded merganser community that Casa Flamingo is the great new singles bar for mergansers because in the last week or so, we've had a regular merganser meat market going on here:

It's a shame they won't let me get any closer before they swim off in a panic. I'm not a nature photographer, that's for certain. It requires two things I don't have a lot of: stealth and patience. I suppose I could sit really still on the bank and wait forever and ever for them to glide past me, but I'd probably fall asleep while I was waiting or get bitten by a water moccasin. The shameful truth is that I couldn't hold still that long unless I was sleeping, so I guess I would need a duck blind. I think that's what duck blinds are for, right? Sleeping while the ducks glide by? Though I was watching My Great Big Redneck Wedding last weekend and there was a couple on there that thought duck blinds existed for something else entirely. It wasn't sleeping. And it wasn't for shooting ducks.

It makes me laugh to think that people surfing the internet looking for information on hooded mergansers are going to find this post.


  1. I just want to make sure I have this correct. If you are an attractive male duck,and your looking for a "hoochie-duckie-mama", your house is a "regular merganser meat market", in which you will be able to find that special someone. I'm going to take this as a sign from God. I say this because I have been to your house many times and not once have I left with so much as a phone number for any "hooded males",fowl or other wise. I'm thinking God is gonna start you guys off with ducks, see how you do, and they possibly give you single people to work with. I'll keep coming over, but I'm so discouraged to know that ducks are getting better action than me. What's up with that?

  2. I recognize that writing style...The problem is that all the males in the "market", like the drakes, also have big foreheads, and apparently you haven't employed the merganser actractiveness scale. You should be more tolerant. You know what they say about a man with a big forehead...also, what are you doing up at 6:39 on a saturday morning?

  3. ...needs a big forehead to house a big brain

  4. You "quack" me up? HA HA. I think you may be on to something oh wise ducky one.


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