Thursday, March 4, 2010

Dancing with the Mergs

Before heading home late this afternoon,
I stopped by Burying Hill Beach in Westport
to check out the bird scene.
There were a few Red-breasted Mergansers close to the beach, I quickly notice something very different between two males that were now paired up. They were in a dancing competition for the attention of a nearby lady friend.
The two faced each other and in a well choreographed duet they started the dance.
The moves they made were all in unison, from paddling across the water as fast as they could to dipping their chest below the surface with bills facing the sky, to elongating their necks and bills skyward.
I felt honored to witness this event that lasted a minute at best. Finally the lady chose her guy, and the loser slowly swam off to let the couple be.
All was not lost for second place finisher, for not fifty feet away was another female, alone, he swam up to her and the last I saw of them, they were happily diving below the surface together in search of their next meal.
Enjoy the photos below, showing the various dance steps!
Click on pictures to enlarge.

Bills up as if to say "en guard"

Chest in water, bills agape.

The 50 meter free style?

She doesn't seem impressed?

This duet in two part harmony seems to have caught her attention.

And if that didn't, this did!

Or perhaps this step will!
Gee, what us guys do for you ladies!!!


  1. Hey Larry, a couple days ago at Milford Pt I saw a couple males doing the same thing. For the first time ever, I heard the males call a few times while displaying. It was one of those still evenings where you could also easily hear the Long-tails calling from well offshore. I was thinking it would have been a great evening for a boat ride.

  2. Hey Nick,
    About those evening boat rides, the sun sets and it still gets mighty cold out there at night.When is your boat going in?