Common Mergansers (Mergus merganser) in Salmon Creek, 26 April 2014
Note that the male, with the greenish-black head, lacks a crest. And the female, with a reddish-brown head, has a distinct white chin patch.
Several birds walked up onto a gravel bar and started to preen. (I was impressed with their substantial legs and feet! Don't they look strong?)
Common Mergansers have been documented nesting along the Russian River and Austin Creek, so perhaps they're starting to think about pairing up.
P.S. Well, I wondered if it would happen, and now it has. Life has thrown me a big enough curveball that I don't think I'll be able to keep up with a daily post right now. It's my intent to keep posting when I can, but I wanted to let everyone know that it might not be as regular as it has been. For those of you who subscribe to the blog e-mails, you'll still receive one whenever I post. And of course, if you just check in to the Natural History of Bodega Head website every now and then, you'll see new messages whenever they get posted. However, if you'd rather not wonder when there's going to be a new post, you can subscribe to the e-mails by scrolling to the bottom of the main page and looking for the section where it says "Follow by Email." Just be sure to watch for the confirmation e-mail after you submit your address, as I've heard that it sometimes ends up in spam.