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Westport, CT, Sherwood Island, on the sound (salt water), around high tide on Saturday, November 21, seen about 11am: a flock of 36 individuals (counted, not estimated) - which at first I thought were all Red-breasted Mergansers. Now I'm wondering if some of the individuals may have been Common Mergansers, in a mixed flock. Observed about 20 minutes altogether. Photos are from shore, at a bit of a distance, and with tricky light.

This was my first sighting of Red-breasted Mergansers, so I'm fairly new to birding and have lots to learn. Any help is greatly appreciated! 

 

Originally ID's these two as Red-breasted, but possibly Common? 

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I think these 3 are Red-breasted - not as much defined white on chest or under bill. (Lighting makes it tough.) 

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All Red-breasted? Again, lighting is tricky but I don't see any white chins.

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I'm wondering if the two individuals in the foreground might be Common. Smoother heads, and coloring might be consistent with Common. (Is the breast on the flapping bird a bit dingy above the white belly?)

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A portion of the large flock, all together.

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I believe these are all Red-Breasted Mergansers. In the first photo, more white is displayed in the wings than what would be seen on a Common Merganser, and longer crest is visible. The rest, as you mentioned are lacking the white chin patch of a COME, and also have that large crest and spindly look.

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22 minutes ago, Birding Boy said:

I believe these are all Red-Breasted Mergansers. In the first photo, more white is displayed in the wings than what would be seen on a Common Merganser, and longer crest is visible. The rest, as you mentioned are lacking the white chin patch of a COME, and also have that large crest and spindly look.

Thanks! That's where I landed too, but I'm not yet experienced enough to feel certain. It helps to hear how you made the ID - I wasn't sure about the wings. I really appreciate your help.

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