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scaups and such


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4/11/2022 Lake Fayetteville... Fayetteville, Arkansas

So, I chased a loon for no reason, but I knew that before I left the house. The cinnamon teal I found made up for it for sure.
Want to check some ID's... mostly the scaup situation. Some of the birds look a little more like RNDU but, the backs are not dark enough.  I don't know that I have a pic but I know in one group of scaups there was one that was noticeably larger than the others RIGHT next to it...  kind of makes it an easy greater scaup ID... 
These were at quite a distance and I'm wondering if you can judge them from these lousy photos or pick up anything else in their midst.
Couple other ID questions first...
1. I don't think I have a pic but, I kept seeing one pied-billed grebe that looked a lot bigger than the ones near it. One time I thought I was looking at a gadwall til I saw the bill... was weird... there were well over 100 pgbr there and this one just kept standing out.

2. This HAS to be a canvasback... my question... is this darker area around the neck normal? I don't see these in the field often enough to study them well...  like maybe once or twice a year I find one... some years not at all.
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and now the scaups and such...
These first 4 are actually all cropped out of the same photo
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The rest are just other shots of the same group of birds I guess... slightly different poses... kind of far out and poor light. 😞

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I don't see any facial markings at all on one of these birds.
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Wish the lighting was better. Also wish I had a better scope and a carrying case. I have one that's only useful at 20x, which is still better than binoculars, but I left it in the van.
I might want to invest in a slightly nicer one... some day... and have a case for carrying it. Had my camera backpack on because it was raining when I got there and kept the camera in there... and used an umbrella.
After looking at the pics and zooming in here and there(there are other pics but mostly the same) I think I may have had a couple greater scaups in there... 
For now, my eBird checklist shows 1 greater, 1 lesser, and a bunch of greater/lesser...  I will need to edit numbers after counting in the pictures some. 🙂

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1. Um, I don't know, there can be some species variation, or maybe (just joking) you saw an Atitlan Grebe!

2. Seems to be present on some females, from a quick Macaulay search.

3. Probably next to impossible to tell from these photos, don't think I see any Ring-necks, looks like mostly Lesser Scaup with a handful of Shovelers. Lack of markings could be lighting, or it is possible for some Scaup to have very little or no white. Wait for more opinions though.

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I wish I could go back and search better... or that pictures came out better.
I thought I saw some ruddy ducks at one point but was never sure. Now I see that other people have been reporting ruddy ducks... and the loon and pintail were seen at various times by people, even after I was there, but I never found them. Oh well.....

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6 hours ago, Quiscalus quiscula said:

1. Um, I don't know, there can be some species variation, or maybe (just joking) you saw an Atitlan Grebe!

2. Seems to be present on some females, from a quick Macaulay search.

3. Probably next to impossible to tell from these photos, don't think I see any Ring-necks, looks like mostly Lesser Scaup with a handful of Shovelers. Lack of markings could be lighting, or it is possible for some Scaup to have very little or no white. Wait for more opinions though.

This. Agree on Lesser Scaups and Shovelers.

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3 hours ago, Quiscalus quiscula said:

I know it's hard to judge online, but this could come across as a little aggressive.

uh, yeah...

this is not how to respond... 😛

There are rules for how to bird? Can I buy your handbook of directions? 😕 
The comment about the scope doesn't even make sense. I should learn how to use the one I have properly?
So, I"m using my current scope incorrectly? And you learned that about me from which comment?
Like wow... You know nothing.
Not that it matters... I have a $60 scope. It is only good at 20x. If you go up there's almost no field of view. I'm not using it improperly. I really could use a nicer one... even a lot of cheap ones would be better than what I have now.

Side note...  I ask a lot of questions and use a lot of words. People end up assuming a lot. Not that it matters because I wasn't offended at anyone else mentioning it but, I didn't need help IDing the shovelors... or most of the scaups. Was mostly checking to see if anyone saw anything I was missing...

Sorry for the frustration that is likely coming across in this response. It just really rubs me the wrong way when people talk down to others online.

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I guess I need to go really look at all the photos, zoom in and out etc..
Our eBird reviewer didn't like that I used size to come up with a greater scaup. He didn't know of anyone using that for ID purposes. There was at least one there that as quite noticeably bigger than the bird next to it so, I assumed... 
Head shape seems possible for a few... 
He said that there are other people there chasing the cinnamon teal and neotropic cormorant and only one other person came up with a greater scaup and that was based on head shape alone which isn't always reliable.
When I zoom in to these photos I feel like there is one or two with larger nails at the end of their bills but I can't be 100% sure that's not an angle/lighting issue. I'll keep studying them.

On the one hand, I'm glad the reviewer is on his toes...
on the other hand, greater scaups are flagged almost all the time, if not all the time, and yet we have some definite ones in this area EVERY year.

Side note/joke... I think it's mean of the birds to have other species that are SO similar.
My oldest daughter(who I think has given up on birding 😞 ) was never convinced that glossy and white-faced ibises were different species.  ha 

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23 hours ago, millipede said:

2. This HAS to be a canvasback... my question... is this darker area around the neck normal? I don't see these in the field often enough to study them well...  like maybe once or twice a year I find one... some years not at all.
 

Looking on Macauly, yep, seems pretty normal. I had never really noticed it either.

I don't think I'd be willing to call the Scaup.

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