They were far off when I first spotted them. I dismissed them as more of the Ring-necked Ducks I had seen in March. But a tingle at the back of my neck told me to look again. Yes, they were indeed new; I had never seen that species of duck before. Excited, I began leafing through the bird book to see if I could identify them — but that was a big mistake! They were moving further away.

By the time I swung the camera around, they were mere specks in the viewfinder. The photo shows two drakes and a hen in breeding plumage, fuzzy from unacceptable digital enlargement.

The shape of the head suggests they were Lesser Scaups, not the slightly larger Greater Scaups. These are beautiful ducks, small, finely feathered, with distinctive blue bills. They are diving ducks, distantly related to Ring-necked Ducks, and winter as far away as Central America.

I shot the photo on April 18, 2013 at 2:10 pm, Sadly, I never saw them again. Lesson learned: next time, shoot first and ask questions later. Click the image to view it full screen, and the back arrow to return. Cursor over for its description. Enjoy!
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Related: Ring-necked Ducks.

 

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