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Scaup and Merlin


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Both birds were seen today in central NC. The scaup I believe is Greater but would like confirmation. The falcon I believe is a Merlin as a Peregrine would be larger (It was much smaller than the crow that was chasing it) and a Kestrel would have more color. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Greater Scaup - Johannes Hogrefe
 
Merlin - Johannes Hogrefe
Merlin - Johannes Hogrefe
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30 minutes ago, Jerry Friedman said:

Isn't the duck more likely to be a Redhead?

Pass on the other bird.  Your impressions in the field are much more reliable than anything I could get from these photos.

What indicators make this a Redhead instead of a Greater Scaup?

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4 hours ago, BlueJay said:

What indicators make this a Redhead instead of a Greater Scaup?

Rufous barely visible on the back of the head, sharp line between different colors on the lower and upper neck, doesn't have white sides like a male scaup or white patches next to the base of the bill like a female.

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54 minutes ago, Jerry Friedman said:

Rufous barely visible on the back of the head, sharp line between different colors on the lower and upper neck, doesn't have white sides like a male scaup or white patches next to the base of the bill like a female.

I feel like the rufous is a trick from the lighting. The reason I believed it was a Greater Scaup is because one had been reported within half a mile from where I saw it, and pictures of that individual look almost identical to the one I saw. Here are some pictures of the bird I'm describing. In the pictures you can see the sharp line between colors on the neck and that the bird doesn't have as much white on the sides as you'd expect. I observed the bird at a different location than where it was previously reported, but at the end of my observation it flew back to the original place it was found.

Greater Scaup
Greater Scaup

 

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Sorry, but I don't think that's the same bird.  The Greater Scaup that you showed pictures of has a light-colored ring around its neck (caused by missing feathers), whereas your bird's neck is simply darker below and lighter above.  And the pattern of mottling on the side (due to molt, I guess) looks different.

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