Louisiana Ornithological Society’s
White-winged Scoter, Melanitta fusca
11 birds, mixed ages. See discussion below.
Rapides Parish – Kincaid Reservoir, Observed from East Side of Dam Face.
February 21, 2014
2:35 PM – 3:00 PM CST.
Jay V. Huner
428 Hickory Hill Drive
Boyce, LA 71409
Charlie Lyon, Mike Musumeche, Terry Davis, Steve Shively and others.
Light clouds, sunny, mid-afternoon sun from right. Reasonable amount of glare.
Primary – Eagle Optics Raven Scope – good condition; Secondary – Swift 10x42 Waterproof Binoculars in good condition.
Initially approximately 0.7 mile; Finally, approximately 300 yards.
Initially watched flock of about 11 ducks at extreme distance for about 20 minutes. Subsequently watched smaller group of 6 ducks at about 300 yards for 5 minutes.
Initially – in mouth of reservoir cove; subsequently in open water off dam face.
I watched the birds at extreme distance and could see them swimming, occasionally flapping their wings and frequently diving, apparently feeding. I initially counted 8 birds but a boat subsequently flushed the birds and at least 5 flew to the east and 6 flew toward me to the north. The 6 that flew toward me landed about 300 yards from me and basically did nothing while I watched them other than to stay very close together and hold position but did occasionally flap their wings.
When I saw the birds at extreme distance, they appeared as black, stocky birds. Body shape was similar to half an ellipse with stocky heads. When the birds flapped their wings, I felt that I was seeing white secondary feather patches on their wings. When one group landed closer to me, the white secondary feather patches on their wings were more apparent when they flapped their wings but glare was such that they were not absolutely clear. I subsequently saw, clearly, white tear drop-shaped white markings around the eyes on two ducks.
Could not hear bird even if it were vocalizing.
Black and Surf scoters. White secondary wing patches and white tear-drop-shaped white markings around the eyes are diagnostic of White-winged Scoter.
None – distance too great to even try to photograph birds with my camera equipment.
I have encountered White-winged Scoters at least five times in Louisiana and have seen them in Alaska in 2007 and 2010.
2:35 – 2:45 PM. Kincaid Reservoir. 2500 yards. Viewed SW-Between KRA [Kincaid Recreation Area] and houses to NE. 8 WW Scoters – Actively feeding. Large black ducks. White wing patch seen when flapping wings. Too far to even consider photographs. Wouldn’t ever have looked without MJM [Michael J. Musumeche] and SS [Steve Shively] information and reports. 2:55 PM – boat frightened birds – 500 yards. White wing hard to see in glare but saw 2 with white eye ellipses. 11 birds got up when boat flushed birds. Elliptical-half ellipse on water. Stocky. Canvasback-like heads.