[Tweeters] malicious mergansers

fsharpe at sfu.ca fsharpe at sfu.ca
Mon Dec 24 18:56:16 PST 2007



In Port Angeles harbor, a close-knit flock of 120 buffleheads has been
diving continuously. They dive out of synchrony to presumably feed on
benthic crunchies (mollusks and crustaceans).

This foraging seems to serve as a fish aggregation device, for a flock of
200 red-breasted mergansers press closely about. Every 10 seconds or so, a
merganser arrives at the surface with a fish in its bill. Although having a
reputation for cooperative hunting, that is not the case today. Neighboring
mergansers are quick to give chase with intent to steal. I expect this
larcenous behavior from Olympic gulls, but not between merganser brethren,
especially on Christmas.

Nearby, a flock of about 2,000 starlings roosts under the dock. This
evening the amoeboid swarm settled about 20 seconds late. The days must be
getting longer…

happy solstice

fred
fsharpe at sfu.ca
Port of the Angels


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