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Art by Barry Kent MacKay
In English-speaking countries outside North America this species is called the Goosander. They are indeed relatively common across the northern hemisphere. The area north of where I live, in Ontario, Canada, is filled with small and not-so-small lakes amid boreal forests, and Common Mergansers nest there in large numbers. Non-birders, seeing the female mergansers with their large broods of babies, often mistake them for loons. It’s pretty hard to paddle a canoe in any of these lakes, even those with lots of cottages, and not eventually see a mother Common Merganser and her brood.
But I’ve chosen to show them later in the year, during migration, on the Atlantic coast, early winter. I don’t often give titles to my paintings, but I did this one. The background is entirely “made up”, but I was thinking of a quiet seaside inlet beach of frozen sand just after a squall had passed through, tossing bits of kelp and wrack ashore, with a small group of Common Mergansers, as I have seen countless times.
This is done entirely in acrylics, on compressed hardboard.
Copyright © Barry Kent MacKay
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