The birds on display in the cabinet include tufted duck; velvet scoter; Steller's eider; bufflehead; hooded merganser; common pochard; red-crested pochard; Eurasian wigeon; red-breasted merganser; common merganser; American wood duck; smew; ruddy shelduck; common shelduck; surf scoter
; northern pintail; brown teal; common eider; harlequin duck, Eurasian teal and garganey.
Birds were identified to species, when possible, or to 1 of 3 classes: (1) scoters (Surf Scoter
, White-winged Scoter, and Black Scoter); (2) dabblers (American Wigeon, Mallard, Northern Pintail, and Green-winged Teal), and (3) gulls (Glaucous-winged Gull, Bonaparte's Gull, California Gull, and Mew Gull).
During the fall migration and into the winter, San Francisco Bay hosts good populations of common goldeneye, bufflehead, greater and lesser scaup, canvasback, surf scoter
and sparse numbers of Barrow's goldeneye.
Usually I chased difficult-to-identify shorebirds, but the surf scoter
, colloquially dubbed the skunk-headed coot due to its boldly patterned head, would be a quick slam-dunk.
This list includes six species of migratory birds: Canada goose (Branta canadensis), black duck (Anas rubripes), common eider (Somateria mollissima), surf scoter
(Melanitta perspicillata), black scoter (Melanitta americana), and white-winged scoter (Melanitta deglandi).
Each selected bird is a relatively rare and difficult to find specimen of birdlife ranging from the Surf Scoter
, to the Whooping Crane, to the Acadian Flycatcher, to the Evening Grosbeck.
Black Redstarts remain at RSPB South Stack and Kinmel Bay, while a male Surf Scoter
is again off Morfa Bychan.
Interestingly, 2 wk after our observations we received a photograph of a River Otter (Lontra canadensis pacifica) carrying the carcass of a surf scoter
along this same stretch of beach.
Still, we chipped away, collecting a surf scoter
, an unexpected green-winged teal and a pair of buffleheads in addition to the occasional redhead.
Complementing its gaudy multi-colored, knobbed bill, the drake surf scoter
has striking white eyes.
632 2.30 Black scoter Melanitta nigra 46 0.17 White-winged scoter Melanitta fusca 204 0.74 Surf scoter
Melanitta perspicillata 1434 5.21 Unidentified scoter spp.
A Surf Scoter
, a seaduck more typically found off the north American coast, was found among several hundred Common Scoters at Black Rock Sands on Monday.