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Kennecott Reclamation Ponds near the Great Salt Lake State Park, Utah. 

Lesser would be most likely, but something just doesn't look right...

DSCN3707[1].JPG

DSCN3707 (2).JPG

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I cannot see this as a Ruddy. The lighting in the photo looks flat (no obvious sunny spots). Thus, since I see no white behind the eye on the bird -- a possible artifact of shading, it seems impossible for this to be a Ruddy. The extreme peak to the head certainly suggests Ring-necked, but with only a single photo, it's impossible to determine the bird's actual head shape. If all or most photos -- and not just two or three photos taken in rapid succession -- of this bird were to show this head shape, then I'd lean more heavily on Ring-necked as an ID. I go with "Aythya sp." unless a more-specific ID can be made from additional evidence.

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There were several ruddys on the same pond, but the frontal white splotch is what had me thinking ring-necked/scaup as well. Unfortunately, this is the only photo I got of this bird, and, as I'm now on the other side of the country, I won't be able to get any more... I guess this should teach me to scan water more carefully with bins instead of snapping a few photos and leaving. 🤔

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