Outliers Not Alone

Greater Scaup male

In my most recent visit I saw two birds that were far from the crowd of their species.  While 99.9 per cent of Bufflehead and Greater Scaup attended to the serious business of breeding up in the far North, one individual of each kind appeared here in the North Basin, a few yards from the paved perimeter path around our park.  Then, yesterday evening, I saw that each of these outliers had company.

Within yards of the female scaup just off the Open Circle viewpoint, a male Greater Scaup paddled quietly, not diving or preening or doing much of anything other than being.  This male scaup bore non-breeding plumage which means, I suppose, that he and the female were just friends.

Greater Scaup female and male

Later, in a sunlight dimmed by a thickening blanket of fog, I saw a second female Bufflehead in the same area.  The Open Circle viewpoint creates a shelter against the prevailing westerly breeze, which raised whitecaps and had park visitors wearing parkas last night.  The heavy rocks around the promontory conceal nooks and crannies where a bird might hide and rest.  Just north of this spot, a small tribe of American Coot can be seen just about any time of year.  I’ll try to photograph the second Bufflehead, if she’s still there, when the light improves.

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