Scaup Dropouts or Pioneers

Greater Scaup male

A flock of possibly a hundred dark-colored birds flew low over the water last week but didn’t settle.  They circled far out of my camera range and I have no idea what they were.  They could have been Scaup.  In any event, after they left, this male Scaup appeared, paddling quietly.  Possibly he was part of the visiting flock, liked what he saw and decided to drop out and stay, letting the rest of them fly on in search of greener pastures.

Later in the week, one Scaup became four.  Two males and two females paddled for a while behind the flock of Bufflehead that had arrived, and then veered off into their own little group.

They may not remain a Scaup quartet forever.  Last winter, Scaup visited the North Basin by the thousands.  At times they covered the water from shore to shore.  These four may be pioneers of the hordes to come.

Here’s more information about this kind of bird:

Cornell bird lab website

Audubon website

Wikipedia website 

Greater Scaup, two females above, male below right

 

 

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