While hiking…

We ran into this guy…

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I mean, we really about ran into him.  The trail went right beside him and it was very steep and bushy, no way to go up higher to get around him.  Moose scare me a bit more than bears.  Thankfully, it was  not a mama with a calf.  We all scurried quickly and quietly past this guy (9 kids along with my husband, my folks and myself) .  The little kids kept on going up the trail while a few of us stayed behind and definitely kept our distance from him and took a couple of quick shots…


Not a very good picture above but I love the duck swimming next to him!


These closer ones were taken first and the more distant ones where taken later from across the lake.IMG_3835 P1020273 P1020284 P1020365 P1020389

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Nature Notes and

Water World Wednesday

Common Merganser…

Seen on St. Mary’s Lake in Glacier National Park on Labor Day…

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Description: The long, narrow bill with serrated edges readily distinguishes mergansers from all other ducks. Common mergansers are among the largest ducks, but are less stocky than eiders and goldeneyes. In flight, they appear more elongated than other ducks, flying in trailing lines close to the water’s surface. Male common mergansers have a greenish-black crested head and upper neck. The lower neck, breast and underparts are creamy-white with a variable pink wash. They have black backs and upperwing coverts with white scapulars. The bill is red with a blackish culmen and nail. The legs and feet are a deep red. Female common mergansers have a tufted red-brown head that is clearly defined from the lower neck by a clear whitish chin. The back and sides are silver-gray and the breast and belly are white. The bill is red with a blackish culmen and nail. The legs and feet are deep red.

Breeding: Common mergansers breed from Alaska, the southern Yukon, Labrador and Newfoundland south to central California, Arizona, New Mexico, southern Chihuahua and east of the Rockies to Minnesota, Michigan, New York, New England and Nova Scotia. Common mergansers nest in tree cavities, nest boxes, cliff crevices and on the ground, generally near clear-water rivers in forested regions and on mountainous terrain. Female common mergansers lay an average of 9-12 eggs.

Migrating and Wintering: In winter, the American race of common merganser ranges along the Atlantic coast from Newfoundland almost to Florida, in the interior from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico and on the Pacific coast from the Aleutian Islands to Mexico.

Population: May population surveys during 1970-’79, suggested a continental population of 1.5 million birds. Currently, accurate population information does not exist for common mergansers. However, populations are thought to be stable.

Food habits: Common mergansers eat mainly fish, amphibians, crustaceans, mollusks and other invertebrates obtained by diving underwater in marine and freshwater habitats.

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Oh my, look what the kids caught in the live-trap last week!  We spotted him while out and about doing chores one morning, he looked pretty scrawny and unloved.  After several unsuccessful attempts at trying to catch him, the kids decided to try the live-trap and some tuna.  The girls ended staying up late that night watching a movie, so before heading to bed Tori checked the trap with a flash light and saw some eyes reflecting back at her.  She was a little nervous at first, thinking that maybe they trapped a skunk or a raccoon but once she was close enough to get a good look she scooped up the trap and ran back inside!  Both girls squealed with delight at the little orange fuzz ball while trying to think up different names for the little guy.  They fed him a bit of softened cat food and snuggled in for the night with the kitten taking turns sleeping on their beds.


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After checking with all the neighbors, we have a new little kitten!  They decided on Zest for a name and he’s lived up to it pretty well.  He’s still a bit shy at times, but hasn’t scratched or bit anyone despite being loved on a LOT!  A kitten was definitely not on the list of animals to acquire this year and if Leroy (the other cat) had his way this kid would be out the door!  But what’s a mother to do? 😉

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