I always take my camera with me. I carry it in a shoulder bag with my binoculars, a bird guide, and a windbreaker and a few odds and ends. I bought this particular shoulder bag last winter when we were in San Diego at an REI store and I’ve used it almost every day since. Each day when I take off for a walk, which is usually a combination of a walk for exercise, a walk for our dog Buster, and an opportunity to do some birding, I throw this bag over my shoulder and off we go. However, this morning was an exception. It was overcast and actually raining, but I was impatient to get a walk in, so I left the bag with my camera at home to stay dry. I grabbed an umbrella as I went out the door, giving my wife and dog an excused absence on the walk. Two blocks away from the house the rain let up. As I continued walking on our town’s brand new sidewalk overlooking the Umpqua River, I noticed some movement in a quite backwater. A closer look revealed two pair of exquisite Hooded Mergansers. Few ducks rival the striking pattern of the males, and few females can match the fluffy hairdo of the females. But here I was without my camera! A strong curse and a vow to always always always take the camera were made once again.