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scaups, yes more of those


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I'm not seeing Greater here. The male is definitely a Lesser due to heavily peaked head. The female is a bit more iffy... but I would still call it a Lesser due to very steep forehead and the appearance of a slope change near the back of the head. Do you have any photos directly from the front of either bird? (The fatter head shape looks better for Greater)

Edited by Melierax
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5 minutes ago, Melierax said:

Do you have any photos directly from the front of either bird?

I think pic 3 and 5 above are the best angles I have for that. 😞  pic 2 seems to show the male from behind...

11 hours ago, cavan wood said:

Wait to see what others say.

Figures I didn't do that... 😞  I submitted as greater to eBird last night. Easy thing to change. I was torn on it last night... saw that it was definitely higher in the front in some poses but also thought the whole head seemed high for greater.
I just don't like scaups. 😛  

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13 minutes ago, millipede said:

I submitted as greater to eBird last night. Easy thing to change.

eBird does have an 'Greater / Lesser Scaup' option.  My 2019 birding resolution is to use the 'species' options more, instead of omitting sparrows, warblers, or ducks I can't identify exactly.

Edited by Charlie Spencer
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Hopefully a few more people can chime in with some confirmation... I'd say I'm surprised I haven't heard from my stat's reviewer yet but he's probably BURIED with flagged reports.

41 minutes ago, Charlie Spencer said:

eBird does have an 'Greater / Lesser Scaup' option

yeah... in fact, our stat's reviewer made EVERYTHING more strict for the GBBC so greater/lesser was the only option without manually changing it. So greater or lesser by itself got flagged during the event. He made things more strict because of the number of inexperienced birders that would be submitting checklists that are inaccurate. Which I've seen already. Someone reported 10 western meadowlarks and no eastern. That's just not likely around here, to say the least. It's difficult to catch all those errors and I'm sure he's got a ton of them.

Once I get a few more(different/additional) opinions on this I'll change it to lesser if that's the way I need to go.

I purposely put several pictures to get different perspectives. Sometimes people judge the "nail" and I've seen people's birds be judged on that without a good angle of it. So I tried to add some from a more frontal angle along with good side profiles.

I want to be certain...   and yeah, I submit ____ sp. any time I'm not sure. Had four gulls fly over the house the other day. 99% sure based on size and overall appearance they were ring-billed but general impressions were all I got. They're the only larger(not small like bonaparte's or franklin's) gull that's around here on a regular basis. Occasional herrings...

I don't like putting sp. but, I also don't want to assume and I don't want to omit.  Just submitted 20 sparrow sp. the other day as those things just pop up and disappear way too quickly. Mostly swamp, song, and white-throated but how many of each? I had no way to count them all.

phew... I'm tired... long weekend. Breakfast time.

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I've got scaup issues of my own coming up, but for my two cents worth, I agree with others regarding the male leaning Lesser.  Also agree the female is iffier.  Specifically for me, pictures 3 and 5 give the subtle impression (or create the illusion) that the female's beak is slightly broader than the male's.  In picture 3 the female looks more 'cheeky' than the male;, which adds to her 'Greater' impression.   Again, these are just my insights based on my own imperfect interpretations.

Here is a very interesting piece I came across by Tony Leukering, which might provide some more insight:  

https://cobirds.org/CFO/ColoradoBirds/InTheScope/21.pdf

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9 hours ago, Bee_ keeper said:

I've got scaup issues of my own coming up

they're fun aren't they?  ha  :p 

@akiley @birdbrain22  who else can I poll on this one?  Maybe if I tag @psweet they'll swing by???   

I just want to try and fix my eBird report. Seems the consensus is leaning to lesser for the male and the female is, who knows???   
They were both pretty actively diving together the whole time. No other birds on the pond.

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oh hey, I just remembered something as I got up this morning. Bee Keeper shared a link of an article that Tony wrote. In it he wrote that actively foraging(like the birds I was watching) scaups can have their heads raised making them look higher... Basically if they're actively diving and such you could mistake a greater for a lesser if you use that feature... (although you wouldn't mistake a lesser for a greater this way.)
Something to consider... and I dare say a challenge to even the most experienced birders?

I really wish I drove in a little closer and/or had a better camera and got better pictures. :(

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I'm just curious if anyone read the link that Bee Keeper posted and the thoughts about how high the heads might LOOK if a greater was actively foraging... 

Either way, this is one of those birds where I kind of want to just say maybe they're ONE species... there's a couple of those out there where they're just SO similar... it's just too frustrating.

Why can't they just wear name-tags???

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