Another Surf Scoter has appeared on the North Basin, this time a female. Unlike the male that showed here in September, this one does not appear to be injured. It is probably a juvenile, judging by the size of its white patch behind the eye.
Updated: Two more Surf Scoter females appeared on Tuesday, keeping company with each other. Here’s a look:
On Wednesday there were five. And on Thursday, today, the little flock was up to seven. At least one was an adult female, with strongly developed markings. The rest were also female, except that one of them (white patch on the back of the neck) may be a young male, hard to tell. Here they are:
These birds were once extremely numerous on the bay, but since the Cosco Busan oil spill in 2007, where thousands of birds died, they have become rare, and their appearance is an event. They breed on freshwater lakes in Canada, at the northern edge of the boreal forest, where it yields to tundra. During their winter migration they choose salt water. They got their name from their habit of feeding on breaking waves close to shore.