Friday, February 25th, 2022


(I mean, they’re not actually new birds. They’re just new to me.)

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In a fun bit of synchronicity, today I specifically set out to try to see greater scaups. They’re pretty rare around here, and for various reasons I’ve had a bit of a love-hate relationship with them for years. I’ve tended to see them only when a better birder was on hand to point out the differences between the lots of lessers we routinely get and the much smaller number of greaters that are sometimes sprinkled amongst them. But that sort of sloth will not cut it when the competition has displaced me from the top ranks of the county-year listers, so this morning I set out to see if I could pick out the couple of female greaters that have been hanging out with the lesser flock on UCSB’s campus lagoon.

And I did! 🙂

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caseygirard: The Scaup!  This bird is difficult to identify…

Saturday, March 31st, 2018


The Scaup! 

This bird is difficult to identify against the Lesser Scaup. They both have generally the same coloring and patterns. The differences are slight and take training your eye to see them easily. When I first encountered Scaup, I called my Mom who knows ducks because I was exasperated. She sent me a brochure that explains all of the differences. 

Generally, the Lesser Scaup’s head has a purple shine when it catches the sun and the Greater Scaup has a green shine. The Greater Scaup has a more rounded head, where the Lesser has almost a crest, giving it a pointy head. Their body has a greyish top and white bottom half, on the Greater Scaup this is more defined and the white is whiter. Another helper is Lesser Scaup are more often on fresh water vs salt water but, this can easily fail to be a true signifier as they can be on either kind of water. 

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boy-warbler:Greater scaup from Sunday (I think). Greater/lesser…

Thursday, March 15th, 2018


Greater scaup from Sunday (I think). Greater/lesser scaup is a tough ID. (at Humber Bay Park)

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