Goosander plumage is striking: the male in breeding plumage is colourful sharply defined, the female too is distinctive. All this changes in summer. Juvenile birds resemble females and, in eclipse, males lose their smart appearance. My images show the way colours blur and blend in the manner of cryptic colouring. And the least sunlight dazzling off the water can make the birds harder to follow in their unpredictable course.
As a child, I enjoyed birdwatching. I returned to it in more dedicated manner as an adult, one summer- the most bewildering time of year because the juveniles were abroad and one juvenile can look remarkably like another. Eclipse birds and the moult can confuse the picture even further.
As the goosander swam and drifted toward a weir I was ready with my smartphone camera. They grouped together and kept their heads up, buoyant and high on the tumble of water. No trouble. Preparing to leap the weir upstream they made toward the bank, dived under the water and came up half-way up, or clear of the weir. The tiny goosander I'd seen earlier had been protected from the weir until they were stronger.
Like goosander, merganser are sawbills and both species nest in tree holes, their ducklings leaping from the nest as soon as the entire clutch has emerged from the egg. Their mother leaves the nest and calls to them from the ground, urging them to follow. One by one, the flightless ducklings claw their way up to the light and jump. They're so light they ride the air buoyant and trampoline off branch and leaf litter. Then to the river for life as water-birds. I watch video of merganser, can't find goosander. So my finding that nest- hole and being there the moment the ducklings jump is remote. Look at those goosander ducklings I photographed early in June. That was their adventure, days before I found them.
Back to the Farne Islands to see guillemot chicks take the plunge. The odds are a little higher on that one.