[CT Birds] Obviously a Tufted Duck but what about the Scaup

greg hanisek ctgregh at yahoo.com
Mon Jan 30 12:45:46 EST 2017

Mark, (Roy pls. see below),
Paul D.'s assessment is correct - Lesser Scaup by a wide margin but with some Greaters mixed in. Capt's Cove is one of a few spots in CT that regularly gets significant numbers of Lessers. I've been meaning to check eBird for reports that overstate the Greater numbers. Greaters are generally more abundant in L.I. Sound, forming rafts sometimes numbering in the thousands in more open waters. The Lessers here favor more protected places such as Capt.'s Cove. In the past other good spotshave included North Cove, Old Saybrook, and Long Wharf, New Haven. Neither seems to have been very productive this winter, however. The ID can be quite difficult, and it's never wrong to report them as scaup sp. or Greater/Lesser Scaup if there's uncertainty on the observer's part.
Coincidently I'm in VT right now and just returned from a visit to the Champlain Bridge in Addison County where huge mixed flocks of scaup occur in open water on the north side of the bridge. This morning the biggest numbers were well across toward the NY side. I was looking into a strong north wind at distant birds in choppy water - "scaup sp." it was for me. However, I spent time there last winter, some of it with eBird reviewer Ian Worley, and some absorbing his wisdom via email on sorting out and counting mixed flocks. Unlike in CT, the two scaup mix freely here in open water and the numbers of both can be significant. It appears that Lessers outnumber Greaters but there are big numbers of both. Picking through them to get a ratio is somewhat daunting.
Late last year I posted a very specific item to this list on separating the two species. Maybe Roy Harvey could dredge it up.
Greg HanisekWaterbury 

    On Monday, January 30, 2017 9:58 AM, Paul Desjardins via CTBirds <ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org> wrote:

 Mark, when I was there the other day it appeared to me that they were mostly Lesser Scaup with a few Greater Scaup mixed in.

Paul Desjardins
Windsor Locks
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