Date: 2/4/18 11:08 am
From: Christopher Hill (via carolinabirds Mailing List) <carolinabirds...>
Subject: Re: Tufted Duck on Bulls not seen today
I’m glad Jack brought my attention to that thread on facebook. I put a note there which I will paste below.

Although these days you hear a lot of “photos or it didn’t happen,” and granted I see details in my own (good) photos that I failed to notice in the field, this is a reminder that there are some places where photos do not substitute for real-time descriptions (done while watching the birds). The two complement each other, and since most people carry a phone that can act as a voice recorder, it’s a good idea to just dictate a thorough description while your eyes are on the bird.

My comment on the ID thread:

I'm also glad you brought that up, Martin< >, and that pattern does show in most of the photos. I have a hard time putting too much faith in that pattern, though. The distant, grainy photos could easily create photo artifacts. In the first photo I see that there are two scaup to the right with heads tucked that also have anomalous light upper borders to pale flank areas. Not exactly the same as the appearance of the alleged TUDU, but possibly the same effect. The photos have a definite "paint by numbers" vibe as though there were only 5 shades of gray available, which could make that "border" look more apparent in what was really a solid white flank lit from above.

Chris Hill
Conway, SC

On Feb 4, 2018, at 1:36 PM, Jack Rogers <jack...><mailto:<jack...>> wrote:

In fact, one birder on the ABA RBA Facebook page, Martin Reid, is already calling this bird a hybrid:
"The flanks on the presumed TUDU are not white, but very pale grayish, such that there is a thin whiter line separating the flanks from the black upperparts and undertail coverts. This is wrong for pure TUDU, which has pure white underparts that lack any paler line where the flanks meet the upperparts (rarely some can have darker imm. flank feathers, but this creates the opposite effect whereby a darker line is present between the black upperparts and the white underparts). The one pic with the head raised in not very helpful, but suggests to me a less-than-classic TUDU head shape.
I lean towards this being a hybrid TUDUxRNDU."
I have no experience with neither Tufted Duck nor any of the hybrids. Just passing along this info for those who refuse to use "that loathsome platform".

Jack Rogers
Mt Pleasant, SC

On Sun, Feb 4, 2018 at 1:29 PM, Jack Rogers <jack...><mailto:<jack...>> wrote:
I'm obviously not one of the reviewers, but considering the bird is:
1) An ABA rarity (Code 3)
2) A state first
3) A Carolinas second (only other record is the 2009 Winston-Salem bird, as I'm sure many of you know)
4) From a species well known to hybridize with several other species (Tufted x Scaup, in particular, can be a hard ID)
I think that perhaps a little time might bode well for accuracy purposes (not saying I don't believe that this bird in particular is indeed a Tufted Duck. David is a great birder for finding this bird!). Not to mention the other birds throughout the state needing to be reviewed. It's a tough job! Kudos to em.

Jack Rogers
Mt Pleasant, SC

On Sun, Feb 4, 2018 at 1:00 PM, Harry LeGrand <carolinabirds...><mailto:<carolinabirds...>> wrote:
Question to you South Carolina folks: Why has the record of Tufted Duck, with 10 excellent and confirming photographs on the eBird report, not yet been accepted by eBird -- yet all of the other Bulls Island rare birds for the same day (Feb. 2) and yesterday have been accepted? This has been done intentionally, but why? If I were the observers/photographers .....

Harry LeGrand

On Sat, Feb 3, 2018 at 8:59 PM, David McLean <carolinabirds...><mailto:<carolinabirds...>> wrote:
Sat 3 Feb 2018


I was back on Bulls Island today on a field trip with the Charleston Natural History Society. Along with a few other birders chasing the Tufted Duck reported from Jack's Creek yesterday, we had numerous scopes looking for the one Tufted Duck among a raft of 1600 Lesser Scaup and Ruddy Ducks but came up empty. I feel that we had a better than even chance of seeing the Tufted Duck had it been there in that large raft.

When we were watching the Tufted Duck yesterday, Friday, it behaved as though it was right at home. It was resting among many other ducks, was interacting with those others as though it was just another Lesser Scaup, and appeared well settled. Jack's is a big impoundment with many large open areas that the LESC seem to favor, and we were unable to look into most of those other areas today. The Tufted Duck could have easily been in another area of Jack's. Hopefully if will be re-sighted by others in the next few days.


David McLean
Charleston, SC

David C. McLean, Jr.
DCMcLean AT gmail DOT com

Jack Rogers
Mt Pleasant, SC
My Flickr page< >

Jack Rogers
Mt Pleasant, SC
My Flickr page< >

Join us on Facebook!