Thursday, September 16, 2010

Surf Scoter

While walking back from the tip of Bayocean Spit along Tillamook Bay last Saturday, I came along a flock of gulls out on a mudflat. I decided to go out and get some closeups, but it wasn't long before I realized that the flat is flooded at high tide as I sunk into the mud a couple of inches with each step.
Once I got close to the gulls and began shooting, I noticed some black birds swimming out in the bay. At first I thought they were some Cormorants, but as they get closer I realized that they were more duck-like in shape. Taking a closer look through my lens, they turned out to be Surf Scoter. My first sighting!
There were seven of them, five males and two females. The males have quite the flamboyant bill. They were feeding and for a while they seemed to take turns diving for food and then later, would all dive together. I lucked out again as they slowly made their way toward me allowing me to get some reasonable pictures. All-in-all, I saw five new species that day.

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