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Hooded Mergansers - $250

$200 for up to 3 hours

Join me in photographing the gorgeous and elusive Hooded Merganser.  These beautiful ducks are notoriously hard to get close to but I have had the privilege of having a group of them return every winter to a small pond in southern New Jersey that allows for close and water level opportunities.  These waterfowl generally return at the end of November and stay through the end of January, you can book a private session anytime during this period.

I will set you up in a blind at the shoreline of this pond and you can choose to lay prone for a water level perspective or if you would be more comfortable sitting I can provide a low to the ground chair with the blind so you can still have somewhat low angle photos.  You will have a choice of 3 locations around the pond that give different lighting conditions based on the time of day and what you would like.  I recommend this as a morning session but some afternoon sessions have been successful.  


  • Lenses from 300mm to 600mm recommended
  • Tripod if you plan on sitting in blind
  • Low level tripod or ground pod if you plan on laying prone
  • Warm clothing since you will be laying motionless for long periods of time
  • If you are laying prone some spots can get damp or wet so waterproof or resistant clothing is recommended
  • For morning outings you will have to arrive 45 minutes before sunrise, I will have you set up in the blind 30 minutes before sunrise so as not to scare the ducks away.
  • For afternoon outings you will most likely have to sit in the blind longer before the ducks will come close because they will see you enter the blind.

What to Expect:

  • You will be in a portable blind for many hours as motionless and quiet as possible
  • Sitting will be much more comfortable but laying prone will give the best perspective
  • Sometimes it's just a pair of birds on the pond, other times I have seen up to a dozen at the same time
  • The ducks will be sleeping, preening, fishing and from late November thru early December courtship displays can be witnessed
  • There will be lots of periods of no action or times when the ducks hide along the brush in the shoreline but they almost always come out and move around after some time.
  • At times the ducks will be to far away to photograph but they are still fun to watch, at other times I've had them come in so close I couldn't move or photograph them.

What I will provide:

  • The location
  • A portable blind (basically a camo blanket with a screen to look out of and a spot for the lens to shoot through)
  • A chair if you choose to sit
  • Suggestions on lighting conditions based on the weather that day as well as what style of lighting you prefer (front, side, back-lit)
  • Tips and suggestions on how to photograph the ducks and what to do if they approach very close.
  • The cost of this outing includes up to 3 hours in the blind but it's your choice if you want to stay that long.
  • I'll let you know a day or two prior to your photo outing if the Mergansers are on the pond and if you do not see any during your scheduled day you can choose to come again another day at no additional charge or receive a refund of the full amount


You can view some example photos I've captured over the past few years as well as a video showing some of the behavior you will be able to witness.  Contact me using the Book an Outing button at the top and I hope to get a chance to let you watch and photograph these amazing Hooded Mergansers this winter.

Later Event: February 16
Barnegat Light in Winter - $300