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Old Sep 25, 2009, 8:01 PM   #1
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Default Lesser Scaups

These ducks do not like to be photographed. On the other hand they have the proverbial curiosity that killed the cat. When they see a human, they head far out to shore. After many attempts to shoot them, I just plain gave up and started to throw sticks for the dog. Well, the ducks were amazed at the activities of my pet "wolf" and paddled into shore for a close look. The results are below.

Close crop of a female





Another shot of a female




A more distant view of the "raft." And the weird little duck swimming with them is a Horned Grebe. They seem to like hanging with the Scaups.




A flock of Scaups is called a "raft." This is a shot of a small raft, perhaps a thousand ducks. I've seen as many as ten times this number, wintering in the protected bays around NYC.




Scaups are diving ducks, and the male in the center popped up much like a cork. These guys eat seaweed, crustacians, and anything else they can get their beaks onto.



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Old Sep 26, 2009, 11:12 AM   #2
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nice set. love the detail in #2 particularly
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Old Sep 26, 2009, 12:25 PM   #3
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Some of the shots were from less than forty feet, but they were a mere twenty feet from the dog. When I was a kid I remember reading how wolves would catch these ducks by pretending to be crazy, and their antics would lure the ducks close. Well, that method doesn't work on any other duck, but from time to time, a hundred or so would paddle over to Chato, and were well within his range, if he had wanted a duck dinner. And while I wasn't interested in dinner, I would say that I owed Chato a steak.

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Old Sep 28, 2009, 11:51 PM   #4
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haven't seen many of those here yet. probably will in a month or so. never seen near as many as you have though... mostly they gather in groups of under 50, maybe 100 tops. the only ones i see here in large "rafts" are the coots, often see hundreds of those all huddled together out in the bay...
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Old Sep 29, 2009, 1:29 PM   #5
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haven't seen many of those here yet. probably will in a month or so. never seen near as many as you have though... mostly they gather in groups of under 50, maybe 100 tops. the only ones i see here in large "rafts" are the coots, often see hundreds of those all huddled together out in the bay...
Life is rough, I never see Coots, not a one, let alone a large group.

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Old Sep 29, 2009, 9:38 PM   #6
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Life is rough, I never see Coots, not a one, let alone a large group.

Dave
I can't imagine never seeing a Coot - they are like sparrows or pigeons around here.

Nice pictures, but your Scaup, BTW, are Greaters rather than Lessers. If there were any doubt, the clincher is the long wing stripe (extending out on the primaries) visible in the birds taking off (it is short, on the secondaries only, in Lessers). I have never seen as many as this in one place before - where I am Lessers are much more common. Compare the less round head shapes (taller crowns) of the Lessers in the ones shown in the following thread. Compare also the rounded head of the male in frame #3 above, which is typical of the greater; note also the distance between the eye and the tops of the raised crowns, which is less in the Greater, because the Lessers have longer crown feathers:

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/wi...ffleheads.html
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Last edited by penolta; Sep 29, 2009 at 9:44 PM.
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Old Sep 30, 2009, 1:15 PM   #7
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I can't imagine never seeing a Coot - they are like sparrows or pigeons around here.

Nice pictures, but your Scaup, BTW, are Greaters rather than Lessers. If there were any doubt, the clincher is the long wing stripe (extending out on the primaries) visible in the birds taking off (it is short, on the secondaries only, in Lessers). I have never seen as many as this in one place before - where I am Lessers are much more common. Compare the less round head shapes (taller crowns) of the Lessers in the ones shown in the following thread. Compare also the rounded head of the male in frame #3 above, which is typical of the greater; note also the distance between the eye and the tops of the raised crowns, which is less in the Greater, because the Lessers have longer crown feathers:

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/wi...ffleheads.html
I wont dispute your I.d. But those two birds are very difficult to tell apart. The first time I shot these birds, I worked overtime to identify them, and they were "Lesser," and Lesser gets the title - My bad...

These were shot in "Dead Horse Bay," Brooklyn, which is the East side of Floyd Bennet Field. Rarely are there more than a thousand in this location. But in a cold Winter, a person can see as many as ten thousand, using Coney Island as protection from the wind - This is about a mile and a half East of the Verazano Bridge.

Scaups are around every Winter, but the colder the better.

Dave

Edited in - My bad, on the West side of Floyd Bennet Field.

Last edited by Chato; Oct 1, 2009 at 6:47 PM. Reason: Correction
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Old Sep 30, 2009, 9:22 PM   #8
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Very nice shots, Dave. And, informative from you and the rest. Thanks.
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