American Mergansers feasting on Largemouth spawners!!!!
In my front yard there is a small lake that I built a couple of years ago, the purpose was to have a viable system where all the critters could do there own thing, and we could enjoy there company. It has been a huge sucsess, for us and the critters that live in and around the lake.
We had a very well refered team of experts involved in the planning and construction and it went quite smoothly overall with the exception of that one guy from the planning and zoning commison that we had to bury in the bottom of the lake. Enough said on that subject!!!
So it rains and the creek flows and the lake fills up with water, and lo n behold the ground dosen't leak. Viola, a lake is born. Up above the little lake is a 10 acre swamp complete with Largemouth bass. These bass have found there way ( some times with my help) into my front yard, this is good. My wife and I are thrilled when an Osprey or a Bald Eagle take the ocassional Bass from the lake and we have watched many Herons and Hooded Mergansers take the numerous Bass Fry in June and July. But...
In spite of our colder than usual spring the Bass are already "Leading the beaches" in there readiness to begin spawning. The lake has shoulders that I designed to provide the proper Habitat for all the critters. The slope is shallow and extends to the deep for about six feet. This gives ample room for most of the Damsels and Dragon Fly Nymphs and myriad other Aquatic insects to do there thing in warm sunshine heated shallows.
It also, I have just found out, gives the American Mergansers a free lunch that they have probably never even dreamed of around these parts. These two adult males are in Hog Heaven they have females nesting in the swamp and are fishing in my waters (home waters?) three times a day operating in tandem as a tag team cruising the shallows and catching everyone they see. Talk about "I spot em I got em" Jim Teeny never had it this good!
I have watched Mergy's for a lifetime and never saw the like of this it is awe inspiring to say the least. They remind me of King salmon chasing down forage fish. Speed and agility and virtualy never missing. They always fly into the lake and hit the beaches as one, I can not distinguish between the two, so I don't know which one is the top dog. But they always work in tandem until they get a full gullet and then they walk individually back to the swamp ,as they are to heavy to fly.This usually leaves one of them to fish alone for his final fish. Oddly enough there doesn't seem to be as much sucsess when fishing alone.
These Ducks are catching Bass that they can't swallow and I have watched them try and try again and finally just give up and abandon the Lucky Bass. Some times bigger is better!
The last few days the report is that they are flying in and also out, which means they are not cathing any Bass they can swallow, probably a good thing as they were making away with about 9 spawners a day for a week.( that would be about 60 bass)
Well if there are any Bass Pond types out there who managed to suffer through this shaggy dog story I am curious if anyone has witnessed this interaction between Mergy's and Bass before. I suspect in so much as this is not bass country we may have developed an unnatural condition that the Darwinians would be proud of .