Wednesday, February 15, 2012

White-winged Scoter

Today at lunch I changed my usual routine and instead of heading down the trail at Bayfront Park, I thought I'd head along the east side of "the channel" and around to the other side of the park.  I didn't make it that far, but glad I changed things up.  I saw a new bird for my list today - a White-winged Scoter.  It was sitting quietly by itself up on the armour stone break wall just west of the sandy beach.

White-winged Scoter
After letting me get relatively close, it dropped off the rock into the water and eyed me for a bit.  It didn't head off too far, giving me the impression it would really like to head back to the spot on the rock it had just gotten warmed up.

But not long after, it dove under water, searching on the bottom for the crustaceans it eats.  The water was nice and clear and I could see it swimming around, poking in the rocky bottom for mussels or crayfish for food.  It was hard getting a picture of the bird with its recently caught food... upon hitting the surface the bird quickly gobbled down its prize before I had time to relocate it with the camera and click.

White-winged Scoter with lunch.
Scoters are another of the waterfowl I've been seeing this winter which over-winters in this area or is on its way back to its normal habitat of western and northern Canada from the east coast.

White-winged Scoter - stretch
So far as I can tell, this is a first winter bird, likely a male but I can't tell that for sure.  Ultimately it gets dull black and the males have a bright white "comma" under their eyes.

White-winged Scoter

I also got some nice shots of the Trumpeter Swans still there (note I had my identification of the Tundra Swans in my recent post corrected (thanks Caleb) - they are in fact Trumpeter Swans.  When I saw them last, they were not close to the Mute Swans so I had eyed them up as being smaller.  However, today they were mingling and they were basically the same size.  That would explain the missing yellow patch behind the bills on that many of the same kind.  I keep learning. :) 

I'll post the shots of the Trumpeter Swans and more in the near future.

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