Surf Scoters & Greater Scaup at Buck Lake !!
- Today, I saw two juvenile/female Surf Scoters plus an eclipse male Greater
Scaup at Bratt's Lake. The Scaup was observed there yesterday.
The Scaup was present and seen yesterday for our Regina Nature Field Trip
Group. Today, the bird was within a meter of the near shore. This presented
a great opportunity to see it well via scope in direct comparison with
several female and male Lesser Scaup plus Redheads.
Greater Scaup are often seen during Fall in this very dark chocolate brown
plumage. Today in duller light ,it was possible to see the faint traces of
the typical white sidewalls of an alternate /breeding plumaged male. Check
this plumage within Sibley ! It may be useful to check all very dark
plumaged birds at this season.
Greater Scaup have a much large bill and more a "flat headed" profile with
the peak up front instead of at the back as in a Lesser Scaup. Seeing this
difference in profile is easy when they are at rest or relaxed. The bill
size is also very obvious.
Lesser Scaup have that distinctive rear peak on their crowns except when
diving. Males of this species are now also in much lighter plumage more
closely resembling or approaching alternate /breeding condition. I suspect
that their molt sequence is much different than Greater's!!??
All of the Tundra Swans are now absent from the Lake !Yesterday, the numbers
fell dramatically from a high of eighty three to just three !!
The seventy plus Golden Plovers were absent as well.
Good Birding !