Date: 3/30/21 12:25 am
From: Robert O'Brien <baro...>
Subject: [obol] Re: Nailing Scaup Identification
Disclaimer. These photos are of males which have head coloration as a
differing feature. Females I guess are structurally the same as males and
the wing stripes correspond, so the nail would perhaps be a little more
important, but seems to me still pretty hard to discern even in direct

On Tue, Mar 30, 2021 at 12:07 AM Robert O'Brien <baro...> wrote:

> Forgot the photo
> On Tue, Mar 30, 2021 at 12:04 AM Robert O'Brien <baro...> wrote:
>> As Lars has said, although both are diving ducks, Lesser Scaup seem to
>> prefer smaller or at least shallower water while Greater Scaup are the
>> opposite.
>> These are an interesting pair, identification wise. (Behaviorally as
>> well, I would guess, but I don't know anything about that).
>> As found in any field guide:
>> Lesser Scaup are somewhat smaller with somewhat smaller, narrower bills &
>> a smaller nostril, a purplish head reflection, a more peaked head profile,
>> sometimes with an apparent indentation on the sides of the head, and a
>> shorter wing stripe.
>> Greater Scaup the opposite in all respects, a greenish head reflection,
>> and a somewhat wider bill and fatter, rounded head.
>> The head reflection is quite dependent upon the angle and brightness of
>> the sun and can simnply look all dark in poor lighting.
>> And then there is the 'tip', which allows nailing the identification.
>> Greater Scaup has a much more pronounced, wider nail as Roy has described
>> in detail.
>> A compromise between the deepwater Columbia and shallower inland ponds
>> is perhaps found at Vanport Wetlands, the ponds *west* of the Expo
>> Center, that is
>> At least these waters (largely unvegetated) are close to the Columbia..
>> This is a good place for direct comparison on a lucky day.
>> The two attached photos were taken there in late winter last year
>> As you can see by the camera's numbering, the photos were taken a minute
>> or two apart in good light.
>> Their bills are pretty similar, but the Lesser's being somewhat more
>> slender; the head peaking is apparent in Lesser. Head
>> reflections correspond to above.
>> But.....................I'm having a hard time *nailing* this
>> identification..
>> I am NO scaup expert, I just took their photos. But the nails on this
>> pair would likely be the last thing I would rely on.
>> Looking forward to comments from Roy and all others.
>> Bob OBrien Carver OR

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