Posted by: atowhee | January 15, 2014


Peter Thiemann and I were on the beach north of Yaquina Head (North of Newport) yesterday, looking for a single King Eider that has been reappearing there this winter. That bird was not to be seen, though it was seen there again this morning. There was a large flock of scoter: Surf and Black. Small birds in the crashing surf.BIG WAVES (1280x1062)

big waves2 (1280x1100)

susc flok




susc-rdign wav (1280x861)
BLSC + SUSC (1280x872)

BLSCx3 (1280x733)The yellow beak on the males is a key field mark of the Black Scoter. When we first arrived there were several females near the beach but they soon drifted out of range. In general the Black Scoters stayed further out, further away than the more numerous Surf Scoters.
The western North America population of Black Scoters may be as small as 50,000 nesting pairs. They nest in the coastal wetlands and western Alaska and then winter along the Pacific Coast from Alaska southward. The further south you go, the less common they become. The British refer to this species as “Common Scoter,” while White-winged Scoters are known as “Velvet.”

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