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Old Mar 30, 2009, 11:56 PM   #1
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Can you identify a bird from this? I think it's a common merganser, but I really don't know. I never did see it in sunlight so don't know what color it was. It was taken before the sun climbed over the mountain.



I got carried away with reflections this trip. This is one of my favorites, I'm not sure why it appeals to me.



Another reflection picture, early morning fishermen.



Bridalveil Fall:



A few minutes later I took this picture (posted for fun, I'm sure there are others who will relate to it):



Is it any wonder my AF lens struggled with the focus? I'm glad the camera has weather sealing!

Thanks for coming along with me on my weekend get-away vacation. I had great fun taking all these pictures, and had a chance to play with HDR, along with DXO (when used as a plug-in with Lightroom or Photoshop it will strip out some or all of the exif information).
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Old Mar 31, 2009, 12:10 AM   #2
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Hi Harriet,

I'd say Common Merganser also. It's probably about the only one that has a range close to where you are.

Nice photos -- looks like you had fun. We just had about 3" of snow, and might get some more. . ..

Scott
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Old Mar 31, 2009, 2:31 PM   #3
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Hey Harriet,
I'll have to second that, common merganser.
love the last shot, looks like you were really getting into your shooting!
:G
GW:bye:
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Old Mar 31, 2009, 8:22 PM   #4
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All are nice, but I really like the last one. You can almost feel the mist on your face when you look at it.

Patty
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Old Mar 31, 2009, 9:14 PM   #5
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Thanks, Scott and GW, for the information that it probably was a Common Merganser - I couldn't think of anything else with a crest quite like this.

Patty - Glad to know that a simple picture can convey such an experience - both my camera and I got very wet. While I could see a rainbow right next to me, it didn't photograph well.

Scott - your storm has made the news here in SoCal, so I can imagine you must have spent the day digging out. Hope all is well with you. Our weather is absolutely wonderful right now - sunny, and warm without being too hot. Just hope it continues this way through the weekend because I want to go to the poppy preserve Saturday.
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Old Mar 31, 2009, 9:43 PM   #6
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Well. it is a merganser - and it likely is a female Common. All three species occur here, and all except the male Common have crests, so you really would have to get a better illuminated or closer picture to be sure. Red-breasted Mergansers actually outnumber the Commons by a wide margin in coastal California in winter, forming large flocks that drive fish like the White Pelicans do (this behavior has been observed in Florida, too). The situation is reversed away from the coast, where Red-breasteds are scarce, but they do occur on inland waters in migration. The Hooded Merganser is the least common of the three in the West, but we see them every year - in coastal southern California we see more of them than of the Commons. I can't speak for the Sierra lakes, however.

With those waterfalls, you wouldn't know it was a drought year. I can practically hear and smell them - great shots!
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Old Apr 1, 2009, 9:54 AM   #7
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Thanks for the additional information, Penolta. There were actually two birds that arrived together, swam along the lake shore until I lost sight of them - those two were the only ones I saw (and as I recall, both had crests like this, not like the male Hooded Merganser, which is different). I didn't realize that all three mergansers could be around our area. And I didn't know about the flock behavior of the red-breasted, it makes for interesting reading.

It was a strange trip in a way. We were staying on a lake that's really a reservoir. They lower the lake level in the fall after Labor Day and then let it fill up again over the winter and spring, with snow run-off. The level wasn't very high yet (I'd been there once before for that same weekend, several years ago) so I assumed that the Yosemite waterfalls wouldn't be as spectacular as they sometimes are. I was surprised that they were as full as they were. And they were still skiing at Badger Pass, with quite a bit of snow still along that pass between Yosemite Valley and Wawona. So there will be more water running into the lake later on, hopefully filling it to normal levels.

But one somewhat average year for snow/rainfall won't erase all of the dry years we've had recently.
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Old Apr 1, 2009, 10:06 AM   #8
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Harriet, that last shot is really amazing, worth getting a bit wet to capture.

Our weather is like Scotts, if it isn't raining, it is snowing which it is doing right now.

Tom
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Old Apr 1, 2009, 5:52 PM   #9
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Very Very nice. I just can't pick a favorite. I loved them all

Stevie
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