Thanks to Hendrik for following up and finding the proverbial needle in the haystack of waterfowl at the Philomath Sewage Ponds. See forwarded messages below. Nancy Stotz
---------- Forwarded message --------- From: Hendrik Herlyn <hhactitis...> Date: Thu, Nov 7, 2019 at 6:45 PM Subject: [corvallis-birding] PPP mystery duck continues
I was able to relocate Nancy's possible TUDU (or more likely hybrid) on the NW pond today. Based on the bits of white on the face at the base of the bill, my photos confirm that it is the same bird. It has a very short, tuft-like crest at the back of the head, a mix between a female TUDU tuftlet and the topknot of a Lesser Scaup, which was not visible at all times. Most of the time, the head appeared completely tuftless.
The head seems rounder and flatter than in a regular LESC, but not as big and round as a TUDU (or a GRSC). In flight, the bird showed a lot of white in the wing, extending well down the primaries, unlike a LESC and quite consistent with TUDU or GRSC. The eye is pale yellowish, not as striking as the bright eyes of (most/all?) TUDUs, and the bill, as I said yesterday, is lacking the large, black nail and pale subterminal band of a typical TUDU (although some photos on the internet and elsewhere indicate that some female TUDUs may have a reduced bill pattern, similar to the PPP bird).
I still don't think that this bird is a pure Tufted Duck (much as I wish I could turn it into one!!), but I wouldn't be surprised if it has TUDU in its ancestry. Possibly a TUDU x Greater Scaup hybrid, based on overall appearance, wing pattern, bill, etc. (some hybrids of that ilk (mostly males) I found in the internet show a head shape consistent with that of the PPP bird).
For what it's worth, I'll post a few photos on eBird later, once eBird is back online and I can finally submit today's checklists. A confusing bird, indeed!
There was also a nice male Greater Scaup on the NW pond today, and a female Common Goldeneye was on the SE pond. One Blue-winged Teal is tenaciously hanging on with a small pod of Cinnamons. 75+ Canvasback seems like a pretty high number.
As promised earlier, here is a link to my eBird checklist with a few photos of the Aythya hybrid: