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Charlie Spencer

If you need a duck photo really bad,

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Then here's your really bad duck photo.

Phinizy Swamp Nature Park, Nov. 21st, 2018.  The one in the foreground is a Northern Shoveler, but what's the one in the background?  Immature Scaup?  There were definitely mature Scaup in the pond.  The bill may appear overly long due to the reflection.

Thanks.

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Edited by Charlie Spencer

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Any more photos? This bird looks interesting. 

Edited by akiley

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Unfortunately, no.  I only noticed the bird during the normal scanning of photos for random outliers.  Here's the same one at the original resolution.

The head looks way too dark to me for a Shoveler and the color appears limited to the head.  I don't think the tan on the body is due to reflection or I'd expect the Shoveler to be discolored too.  Still, at this res, it does look like a Shoveler bill.  Some sort of hybrid, maybe?

image.png.ab9badc9a5f7342e445378965c8e9062.png

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It's one of the aythya ducks. Not Redhead or Canvasback. Leaving scaup, Ring-necked and Tufted. Scaup is the most likely option, but a few things are off. The flanks are very light brown, generally a much darker brown on both scaup. There's also very very little, almost no white in front of the eye- generally inconsistent with scaup. It's not a Ring-necked based on the head shape, and the lack of an eyering. 

It's probably an odd scaup, but there's one bird I can't get out of my head here which is Tufted Duck. It would be WAY rare and a state first for Georgia, but I wouldn't rule that out with this bird. If I saw a bird looking like this here in New England my heart would skip a beat. Dark brown head, pale brown back with lighter brown contrasting flanks, no white in front of the eye, typical aythya bill and the really bright "golden" colored eye that sticks out like a sore thumb are all field marks for Tufted Duck that appear here. 

It's most likely a scaup, but my first impression make me freak out a bit, before I looked up the location. 

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I can definitely see what you mean with Tufted on this one, but my first impression was Ring-necked.

Edited by egosnell2002
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4 minutes ago, akiley said:

The flanks are very light brown, generally a much darker brown on both scaup.

That's what's got me puzzled, along with the apparently paler breast.  The references I've found for the birds you mentioned are much darker from the head well down the neck to the waterline. 

I guessed Scaup in my first post, and I'll be content with that.  Into each life, a little unidentifiable must fall.  :classic_blink:

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3 minutes ago, egosnell2002 said:

I can definitely see what you mean with Tufted on this one, but my first impression was Ring-necked.

What makes you think Ring-necked? I'm not trying to fully claim Tufted by any means, but to me the head shape looks off for RN, and I'm not seeing an eyering or any white whatsoever at the base of the bill. 

That golden eye is troubling me... It's a classic Tufted trait that often really sticks out like this. 

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4 minutes ago, Charlie Spencer said:

That's what's got me puzzled, along with the apparently paler breast.  The references I've found for the birds you mentioned are much darker from the head well down the neck to the waterline. 

I guessed Scaup in my first post, and I'll be content with that.  Into each life, a little unidentifiable must fall.  :classic_blink:

If it is a scaup, it's a very, very unusual one. @egosnell2002 is suggesting Ring-necked, which I could see as an option than scaup here. I was really just defaulting to scaup in my original post because I didn't want to make an outright claim of Tufted. I think that possibly should definitely be considered here. I have experience with Tufted from here in CT, and dare I say this bird looks rather good for one in my opinion. I just wish there were more pics...

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There were a few dozen Ring-Neckeds in the same pond.  I won't swear that the bird in the middle is the same one from the first post.  The head looks too round for a Ring-Necked to me.

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image.png.0c6ceed47582245056948065928a675e.png

 

Edited by Charlie Spencer

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@akiley I think that the head shape is a bit exaggerated in this picture, it took me a while to unsee the crest. I think that the lack of white in the base of the bill and overall messy plumage fits a basic male pretty well, but according to Sibley that's incorrect molt timing I think... Maybe a molting young male? Not sure. Here's a similar bird: https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/124784721

With that second picture, I think Ring-necked is a pretty safe bet.

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39 minutes ago, egosnell2002 said:

@akiley I think that the head shape is a bit exaggerated in this picture, it took me a while to unsee the crest. I think that the lack of white in the base of the bill and overall messy plumage fits a basic male pretty well, but according to Sibley that's incorrect molt timing I think... Maybe a molting young male? Not sure. Here's a similar bird: https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/124784721

With that second picture, I think Ring-necked is a pretty safe bet.

I can definitely see it as Ring-necked with that 2nd pic now as well.

I'm not sure about age either but I agree that young male could be a good fit.

I guess I jumped the gun on Tufted here, but that first photo was awfully misleading...

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