Saturday, August 24, 2019

Cold Edge dams

? Scaup. What do folks think?
It looked bulkier than the nearby Tufteds, and the bill seems larger. I did not see it flap its wings.


Brian Sumner . said...

See my blog, 17th Aug, West Yorkshire Birding. This Tufted has been at Fly Flatts several times and had me looking twice. It seems to had a rounded head and no tuft but when its very windy it does show signs of a tuft.

Peter Smith said...

Thanks Brian. The bill in your great photo on 17 Aug does look quite hefty for a Tufted. I've looked at the Helm guide (Vinicombe et al) on juv Scaup, and it says "many show extensions of black around the extreme tip, most prominent when front-on, when it may appear as an extensive black diamond or D-shaped bill tip. Such birds may also show a subtle pale grey subterminal band." I think some of this fits your photo.
As for my photos, the smooth rear crown and large bill do look very Scaup-like. So I don't want to give up on it just yet, and I'd be very glad for further opinion(s).

Peter Smith said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peter Smith said...

I guess the tactful silence in the past 24 hours means that I'm dreaming, and that Brian - a much better birder than I'll ever be - is right. Looking again at Bri's photo on 17 Aug convinced me it's a Tufted. But then I looked again at my photos (esp no 3), with the big bill and smooth rear crown, and just about un-convinced myself. Could it even be a different bird?

Brian Sumner . said...

Dont worry about the tactful silence Peter, local birders dont like to get involved with i.d.
I think it is the same bird as it caught me out twice up at Fly Flatts with the bill size and pattern . It stood out as being a bit of an odd ball but the domed crown did show a slight tuft on a real windy day up here. It also has bright wing bars in flight. As you sy, its not forced to be the same bird but a coincidence to get 2 looking Scaup like within a mile of each other. Sorry I can,t be more help.

Peter Smith said...

I've now submitted this bird to Nick as a juvenile Scaup - for the following reasons:-
1. Pictures on the internet show no difference in body plumage between young Scaup and young Tufted. So it's down to structure.
2. When I first scanned the dam, I could see that this bird was larger than the nearby Tufteds.
3. The bill is larger than Tufteds', with little black at the tip.
4. All 5 photos show an evenly rounded rear crown. Juv Tufted would have the hint of a tuft.
5. Photos 3 - 5 show a narrow buff area next to the bill base.

David Sutcliffe said...

I'm wouldn't be sure about the 'tactful silence' or a reluctance to get involved in i d.

This bird is, for me, a tricky one. Photo's don't always tell the full picture so I'm not at all sure especially having not seen the bird in the field, or should I say water.! Could it be a hybrid is another possibility though my leanings so far seem to be in favour of Scaup. I guess the right decision is to submit the record or let it go.

The essence of bird-watching, and everything in the Natural World is identification every time we go out in the field. seeking to find something of interest every day. There may be a reluctance to get involved in the discussion when we have not seen the bird and we just don't know. I think this is probably the case here.

Peter Smith said...

Thanks very much Dave. That's very reassuring.

heavy birder said...

Looks good for Scaup to me Pete. The head is spot on and the bill looks massive almost as long as the width of the head.

Peter Smith said...

Thanks Nick