From: David Bailey <davidcbaileyoregon@xxxxxxxxx>
To: "obol@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <obol@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 17 Oct 2018 12:34:16 -0700
Diana Byrne and I hiked out to past first point at The Cove (Seaside,
Clatsop County) after Mike left for family errands. Just before eleven
o'clock I relocated the pale-faced sea duck a fair ways out from shore to
the north. It was loosely associating with an adult male White-winged
Scoter. Diana got on the bird too and obtained digi-scoped photos and video
of the subject. Today we were able to see the upperwing as the bird
stretched its wings fully out a couple of times in excellent light. The
bird showed bright white specula (speculums) that one would expect for
White-winged Scoter. The bird appeared slightly smaller than the male WW
Scoter nearby. The face, bill, and headshape did not connote a scoter at
all, even though I tried to see it as such.
I am still not sure what to make of the identification of this bird.
Perhaps the most likely is that it is a female/immature White-winged Scoter
with an oddly plumage face--the face is white the bill is gray; the dark at
the hind crown extends from the back of the head to the eye in a narrow
line; the head seems more rounded and the bill more dabbling-duck-like than
scoter.... I would not dismiss the possibility of this duck being some sort
of hybrid either, though I know that is probably the less likely
explanation. The head just doesn't seem scoter. Again the distance that we
viewed the bird did not allow detailed observation of subtle features and
my impression of the head shape and bill may be an artifact of the lighting
and the white-face etc. Diana will post photos and hopefully video that may
reveal more details.
I hope that the bird will afford closer observation as the season
progresses. It has been very interesting so far and I for one have learned
quite a bit.