Thursday, March 10, 2011

Because I needed a reminder

Scaups, Reifel Island, in breeding plumage:

Female scaup. Just another small brown diver (3/4 Mallard size), but identifiable by the bluish beak.

Face view. Bluish bill, yellow eyes, whitish patch at base of bill.

Male scaup. White sides, stripy back, black head and tail. Blue bill and glossy head.

Male, front end. Tall, angled head suggests Lesser Scaup. Purplish gloss on crown agrees. Greater Scaup males' heads have a greenish tinge.

These are diving birds. They don't stay down for long, and usually come up fairly close to where they went under. Considerate of them.

They will take grain tossed into the water. Some divers won't, but then, those ones are usually seen far offshore. Scaups hang around wharves (Greater) or in small ponds and close to the trails on Reifel Island (both G. and Lesser).  They mostly breed in northern forests, and may be gone by next month, although maybe these are planning to stay put. Some do.

I still can't tell the female Lesser from the f. Greater. Practice, practice.


  1. GORGEOUS birds! Thanks for sharing these wonderful shots!

  2. Ah, ducks. I don't know why they are so difficult to distinguish for me, because they don't all look alike like the peeps. Thanks for the lovely reminder.


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