Hooded Merganser. March 30, 2014. San Elijo Lagoon. Greg Gillson.
San Diego is a bit south of the regular wintering range for this snazzy-looking duck of quiet wooded ponds and estuary backwaters. Two drakes and a hen spent several weeks at San Elijo this spring where they were seen by many. The crest can be flattened back until the white is a thin line or raised forward to above the eye until it covers the entire top of the head.
The thin bill has serrated edges, perfect for hanging in to slippery fish it catches by diving.