The open water above the rapids at Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue has been fairly uninhabited so far this winter but the snows are finally melting, the edges of the ice is getting raggy and starting to crack and the wind is effin-cold and strong.

But – there were two lone ducks sitting on the water at the far end of the more than somewhat exposed-to the-wind breakwater – I almost didn’t go see what they were as Mallard was the default setting in my brain (back-lit and no features from far away) … and there was the wind!. But having got that far I decided to be brave. Half way along they spotted me and took off but the trusty camera was to hand from which it was clear that they were a pair of female (immature male ??) Red-breasted Mergansers. New tick for the year and harbingers of more good ducks to come I hope.