Leading the pack – adult female Black Scoter

[All photographs copyright, Gary Nunn 2012] – Amid the excitement of finding and photographing San Diego County’s first Great-winged Petrel I had forgotten about this nice adult female Black Scoter Melanitta americana that was spotted by local birder Jay Keller. Jay arrived just twenty minutes after the petrel came by the point and he immediately picked out the Black Scoter among a pack of fast-moving Surf Scoter while waiting patiently to see if the petrel would return. The buffy cheek, throat and neck, clearly demarcated from the completely dark brown upper and underparts indicates this is an adult female Black Scoter. This bird shows off some interesting paler edges to the primaries as well as whitish “dots” on the tips of the secondaries, the latter particularly visible from beneath. Adults undergo definitive prebasic molt by November so perhaps this is a feature of the new plumage.

Black Scoter adult female – Point La Jolla, La Jolla, California 18 Dec 2012

Black Scoter adult female – Point La Jolla, La Jolla, California 18 Dec 2012

Black Scoter adult female – Point La Jolla, La Jolla, California 18 Dec 2012

Nature Blog Network

2 thoughts on “Leading the pack – adult female Black Scoter

  1. I will be visiting San Diego in Feb for the birding festival. Being from Colorado I know very little about ocean going birds. Your pictures and descriptions are so helpful. Also hearing about where you are birding. Can’t wait to get there.

    • Hi JoAnn, you will not be disappointed birding in San Diego that is for sure. Head down to La Jolla Cove and look at the ocean to see a multitude of birds!

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