Wednesday, April 11, 2018

One More Duck, a Scaup...or is it???

It's another duck for my duck week. This time the picture is not at all very good, but it is a first of sorts. Greater and Lesser Scaups (Aythya marila and Aythya affinis) are occasionally seen in the area, especially at the wildlife refuges, but I haven't identified them for myself until last week. Strangely enough, once I identified one individual on the Merced River, I saw another on the Tuolumne River only a day or two later. The male that I saw on the Tuolumne was in the groundwater recharge basin across the river from the water treatment center. I was a good quarter mile away, which explains the fuzziness of the shot. It looked vaguely familiar, and then I remembered a somewhat famous picture of a creature from Scotland or somewhere like that...

So maybe the Loch Ness Monster is a really long-necked duck, or our recharge basin has a large plesiosaur swimming around inside. In any case, the other Scaup that I saw was a female. I figured it to be a Lesser Scaup because of the rounder head, and because others had reported Lesser Scaups at the same location a few days earlier (and no Greater Scaups at all).

Duck week continues, with just one more (I think).

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