Date: 3/8/17 10:03 am
From: Harry LeGrand (via carolinabirds Mailing List) <carolinabirds...>
Subject: Mountain waterfowl information -- Trumpeter Swan and Greater Scaup
Here is an e-mail that Steve Dinsmore, an excellent Iowa birder who spent
some time birding in NC about 20 years ago, sent to Derb Carter about the
Buncombe County swan.


I hope this email finds you doing well. I regularly peruse the Carolina
Birding listserv and have been following the discussion of this swan. Both
Tundra and Trumpeter swans are regular in Iowa (the latter are now more
common) and this is a frequent i.d. challenge we experience. From that
experience, I will say that the Buncombe Co. swan is absolutely a Trumpeter
Swan (probably a subadult). The Jay Wherley photos from 24 Feb are
conclusive and show the pink tomium, shape of feathering on the forehead,
massive bill, head shape, etc. very clearly. One objective feature that can
be easily measured on these photos is the comparison of distances between
the eye and (1) the tip of the bill, and (2) the rear of the head. On this
bird, the ratio of #1 to #2 is >1.5 whereas on Tundra Swan it would be
<<1.5. A nice bird for western NC.

I suspect this conversation will happen more frequently in the upcoming
years as Trumpeter Swans continue to increase. They were downright common
in parts of Iowa this winter with a couple of locales each hosting >300
birds all winter!


Stephen J. Dinsmore
Department of Natural Resource Ecology & Management
Iowa State University
203 Science II
Ames, IA 50011
Phone: 515-294-1348 <(515)%20294-1348>
E-mail: <cootjr...>


In addition, Wayne Forsythe e-mailed me that:

"For what it's worth, since 1995, we have had over 30 sightings of
Greater Scaup in the mountains of WNC! Many consisted of multiple birds."

So, I was mistaken in that there were barely 10 mountain records. This is
in regard to the photo of the Greater Scaup on the CBC Photo Gallery. I
will update the Birds of North Carolina species account accordingly for the
scaup in the mountain region.

Harry LeGrand

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