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.