Monday, December 10, 2012

The Lesser of Two Scaups

From the Scottish/early English scalp, referring to a mussel or clam bed. Greater Scaup are not overly common in the United States, but are found elsewhere across the globe and in large numbers. Lesser Scaup, by contrast, are very populous in North America but are uncommon outside of the continent.
They're not the flashiest of waterfowl but they've got a handsomeness to em'.


Oddly enough, they're one of the less common ducks in Phoenix. They can be found without too much trouble, and they're not as reclusive as Buffleheads or Mergansers, but they don't have near the numbers as the Wigeons, Pintails, Ring-necked, or Mallards. As such, it's always a treat to seem them around town, especially when they're close to shore and tolerant of some photography.
The temptations of course is to turn this bird into a Greater Scaup because of its greenish sheen and the slight running of the black off the beak nail. Don't do it!!!


There were a half-dozen or so at the Fountain Hills Lake, and now I can add Lesser Scaup to my blinking duck album, which includes, among others, Canvasback, Redhead, and Ring-necked.


The females look pretty sharp too and pretty compact. The Lesser Scaup--a stately duck for any occasion.

10 comments:

  1. Dude we have thousands. I'll box 'em up for ya and drop them off at the post office. Then maybe you can send me some of your fancy Arizona birds.

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    Replies
    1. Throw some Golden-crowned Sparrows and maybe a Snowy Owl into the mix and it's a deal!

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    2. What's the Snowy Owl to Caracara exchange rate?

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    3. As of last weekend, I can offer 6 to 1.
      I'll even throw in a Mountain Plover for free.

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  2. You've captured great images. Love the detail.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Jeff.
      You know, the Devil is in the details...

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  3. Replies
    1. Thanks Dan. Phoenix has a lot of great spots for waterfowl photography, where you can get pretty close to the birds and they're not overly skittish.

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  4. Wonderful shots Laurence! I once saw a female scaup with a telemetry device and she really looked odd but her mate seemed to think she was quite the lady because he never left her side.

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  5. Most excellent:) They are like the Canvasback.....very handsome indeed. I can't wait for winter break to get here. It's going to be a birding frenzy! And this cold front might just bring in some fun:)

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