On one of the first truly warm days of spring, I took my infant son for a walk around the neighborhood lake. We passed what I thought was a flock of common ducks. But on another look, my eye was drawn to the ducks' fanned hoods, black-and-white markings, and chestnut flanks. I approached them for a closer look, smelling the muddy ripeness of the water's edge. Soon the pair of Hooded Merganser and other ducks joined a flock of geese onshore, where we watched them until they waddled back into the water and swam away.