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white-winged scoter


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seen today in central nc

a pair of scoters was reported a couple days ago, the winter storm kept everyone inside yesterday, so today i made it out there. there were a slew of ducks and most, even with my scope, were too far out to identify, but at one point something spooked them and they all took off. as i scanned them in flight with my scope i saw what i *think* was a pair of white-winged scoters. i followed them with my scope for perhaps 20-30 seconds before they landed again and got lost in the midst of all the ducks.

3 things stood out to me as i watched them fly. it had a white wing patch on the trailing edge of its wings toward the middle/inside. the underwings were much lighter than the uppers, not white, just lighter. and finally, i *feel* the head shape was not what im used to seeing on ducks, it was 'irregular." cant say exactly what i saw, but i was left with a "that was odd" feeling... if ya know what i mean.

im not asking for this to be id'd as a scoter, but given what i described could it conceivably anything else?

thanks!

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What other ducks were out there?  it is going to be larger than something like a Common Goldeneye.  You should see the white both above and below when in flight.  WWSC will also run along the surface for a bit when taking off, if you saw that.  

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27 minutes ago, chipperatl said:

What other ducks were out there?  it is going to be larger than something like a Common Goldeneye.  You should see the white both above and below when in flight.  WWSC will also run along the surface for a bit when taking off, if you saw that.  

there were a lot of ducks out there, most were too far out to id but some i could id include: ring-necked, hooded merg, mallard, am black duck, scaup. i did NOT see any water running, in fact im relatively certain they took off straight out of the water.

i just stumbled across a picture of a gadwall in flight and that has the white wing patch too. also, gadwall are pretty common in that spot. im not going to put scoter in my list, but id definitely like to pursue this thread for those willing.

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1 hour ago, insanityslave said:

seen today in central nc

a pair of scoters was reported a couple days ago, the winter storm kept everyone inside yesterday, so today i made it out there. there were a slew of ducks and most, even with my scope, were too far out to identify, but at one point something spooked them and they all took off. as i scanned them in flight with my scope i saw what i *think* was a pair of white-winged scoters. i followed them with my scope for perhaps 20-30 seconds before they landed again and got lost in the midst of all the ducks.

3 things stood out to me as i watched them fly. it had a white wing patch on the trailing edge of its wings toward the middle/inside. the underwings were much lighter than the uppers, not white, just lighter. and finally, i *feel* the head shape was not what im used to seeing on ducks, it was 'irregular." cant say exactly what i saw, but i was left with a "that was odd" feeling... if ya know what i mean.

im not asking for this to be id'd as a scoter, but given what i described could it conceivably anything else?

thanks!

How far out on the wing did the white patch extend?

WWSC wing patches are larger than other similar patches on other species. Here's an example: https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/406814741

Compare to Gadwall: https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/399252461?

 

Edited by Avery
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10 minutes ago, Avery said:

How far out on the wing did the white patch extend?

WWSC wing patches are larger than other similar patches on other species. Here's an example: https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/406814741

Compare to Gadwall: https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/399252461?

 

bear in mind these ducks are between 1500yds/1700yds out, and i *think* at the time my scope was only on 20x.

in the field, after i watched them fly, i looked up some pictures on my phone and said to my buddy something to the effect of "the wing patches i saw were smaller [than what im seeing on the scoter]."  i feel the gadwall is a better fit.  i dont thing both secondaries and tertiaries were white... it didnt feel that big, but again, these birds were pretty far out and at the right angle, a scoter's wing patch could appear smaller.

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9 hours ago, PaulK said:

I appreciate that you're trying to ID ducks flying a mile away. That's a real commitment to the craft!

thanks! lol. i'd get closer if i could 😄 its a great site with tons of wintering waterfowl, and a surprising amount of vagrants (like the western grebe thats been there for about a month now). its just too bad this is as close as i can get... im *really* close to start talking to landowners about access from the other side of the reservoir. the reservoir is 100% no water-access.

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