[Tweeters] any scaup identification experts?

Clarence C. Lupo Gos at tds.net
Thu Feb 28 19:09:42 PST 2008


Unfortunately most folks don't respond; just read.
Clarence C. Lupo
Onalaska, WA.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Andrew Reding" <aareding at gmail.com>
To: <tweeters at u.washington.edu>
Sent: Thursday, February 28, 2008 6:54 PM
Subject: Re: [Tweeters] any scaup identification experts?



> Hi again tweeter-folk,

>

> Here is a summary of the responses. As might have been expected for such a

> difficult identification, it was close.

>

> Out of nine responses, 5 opted for Lesser Scaup, and 4 for Greater Scaup.

>

> John Tubbs wrote:

>

> I believe you have a Greater Scaup in the image. My disclaimer is that

> a single image isn't always definitive (I say this despite being an

> intense bird photographer, and feeling images have a ton of value in

> certain situations).

> 1.) Greater Scaup tend to have greenish tinges to their head when seen

> in the right light. Lesser Scaup tend to have purplish tinges. Often

> in our typical light in the northwest, neither color shows up. Here the

> green is obvious. 2.) The head shape isn't as high, rounded or with a

> somewhat 'peaked'

> look that Lesser's typically have - along with the neck tending to be

> held higher with Lessers. Although this bird appears to have a slight

> peak at the rear of the head, most Lessers have a forward slope to the

> top of their head in addition to being more rounded. In other words,

> the head slopes from the back to the front. Here, to my eye, the head

> looks relatively flat, larger and less rounded than Lessers.

> 3.) The bill size. It's really obvious when you have a head-on look at

> the bill in relation to head size and profile, but if you study images

> in field guides, this bill definitely looks larger and bulkier than

> Lessers. Although the 'nail' at the tip of the bill is also tough to

> see from this angle image, it looks large to me as well.

> So...I would say Greater.

>

>

> Mason Flint wrote:

>

> That's an interesting shot. From a head shape perspective the bird seems

> to

> be a bit more like a Lesser Scaup...more angular...but that could be due

> to

> the head being wet or some other reason. The slight dinginess of the

> flanks,

> the large bill and the apparent greenish gloss to the head make me think

> Greater Scaup rather than Lesser. This just goes to show that Scaup ID is

> sometimes tough even under good circumstances.

>

> Rachel Lawson wrote:

>

> It does look like a Lesser Scaup. The color of the head can be

> variable, but the steep forehead and the little bump on the nape (where

> the tuft would be if it were a Tufted Duck) are characters of Lesser.

> Greater Scaups have a more evenly rounded head, and can look sort of

> flat-headed. Lessers often slick their head feathers back when they are

> diving actively, though.

>

>

> Rolan Nelson wrote:

>

> I think with the crown peak in the middle to foreward part of the head

> like this one, you're looking at a Greater Scaup.

>

>

> Dennis Paulson wrote:

>

> I'd go with a green-tinted Lesser Scaup. Although the bill looks large to

> me too, the nail doesn't look like it has as much black as is typical of

> Greaters (in which more of the black is visible from the side). The body

> color could be either species, in my opinion, as there is much overlap,

> although I think the barring on the back is a bit sparser in Lesser, often

> giving them a whiter appearance.

>

> Generally in Greater Scaup the head looks longer, so even though the bill

> is large, it looks shorter than the length between the base of the bill

> and the back of the head, while in Lesser the head seems shorter, so the

> bill may be no longer than that length. Your bird matches that, I suppose

> as might be expected with that head shape. I have a lot of photos of

> scaups, and I think the bill looks just about as large in some of the

> Lessers as in your bird. It is a puzzling bird, but I would have called it

> a Lesser in the field. I don't know if there have been hybrids between

> those two species.

>

>

> Kelly McAllister wrote:

>

> I'd love to hear what others think on this scaup. I immediately thought

> Greater when I saw the head sheen but I agree with you that the head shape

> makes it a Lesser Scaup. I struggle mightily with the scaup.

>

>

> Matt Pike wrote:

>

> First off, very nice picture. I am no expert and

> am most interested to see what the "experts" tell you.

> I think you got it though. The shape of the head and

> the fairly extensive gray on the flanks both seem good

> for Lesser. The color of the head is interesting

> though. Thanks for sharing.

>

>

> Larry Schwitters wrote:

>

> I would call it a Greater.

>

> The green head.

> The head shape may be a little messed up by unruly feathers, but it is

> more Greater shaped.

> It sure has a big bill.

>

> Nice photo-this is fun stuff.

>

>

> Larry Engles wrote:

>

> You have it correct [lesser scaup].

>

> Thanks to all of you,

>

> Andrew Reding

> aareding at gmail.com

>>

>> -----Original Message-----

>> From: tweeters-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu

>> [mailto:tweeters-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of Andrew

>> Reding

>> Sent: Wednesday, February 27, 2008 12:10 PM

>> To: tweeters at u.washington.edu

>> Subject: [Tweeters] any scaup identification experts?

>>

>>

>> Have i got this one right?

>>

>> http://flickr.com/photos/seaotter/2264662204/

>>

>> Thanks,

>>

>> Andrew Reding

>> Port Townsend WA

>> aareding at gmail.com

>>

>>

>>

>>

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