Marie Louise Lake, Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada --- 

During our travel around Lake Superior we had the pleasure to watch over 30 bird species. I was of course not able to photograph all of them, but the best opportunities came while on the water. We had our kayaks with us and made some nice paddle tours on lakes that surround Superior. 

This family of Common Mergansers had actually ten members but they didn’t always stay close together for having them all in the frame. Mergansers are a lot more tolerant with humans than ducks. Several times we just paddled with them, always keeping a safe distance, and when they sticked their heads under water to look for fish, we just knew that they had accepted us.

Shooting with the long lens from a kayak in windy conditions can be quite a risky maneuver. My practice here at home on the Mississippi River helped me a lot to learn how to handle the boat in the wind and work with the camera at the same time. It is important to keep an eye on the birds and watch the direction of the light, but also make sure your own safety and equipment is not at risk. It is easy to get stuck between rocks or on a log in shallow water.

As you can imagine it takes a few more clicks to get a sharp shot. The first day on Marie Louise Lake in Sleeping Giant Provincial Park we spent over an hour with the mergansers. We tried the same the next day but got distracted by some other birds. But this is for another story later…