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Baltimore by the Sea

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Scooting for Scoter

♪'One of these things is not like the others...'♪

Hum.. was Daffy a Common Scoter,
or just another 'little black duck'
Yes, yes. When an exotic flies into my home state or near abouts, I must pursue. That said, in late January a birder photographed a 'different' looking Scoter and being sharpish, he realized he had something extraordinary little black duck; the Common Scoter. If it's common, what's the uproar? An American birding adage, is 'common' birds are the least common'. How true for this particular little black sea duck, a Common Scoter. The species was seen in North America just one time before, in Greenland. This particular Scooter is the first ever, spotted in the U.S.. 'Whoo hooo!' shrieks the birder in my soul.

As incredible good luck would have it, Don decided to take off a day early, so we headed north on Thursday. Early Friday morning found us enjoying a delish breakfast of Eggs Benedict with fresh Dungeness Crab at the Chart Room restaurant, by the Crescent City Harbor. Have always loved having breakfast at the Chart Room, binoculars at the ready, enjoying my coffee, while watching Sea Lions & waterfowl at play.

Right after breakfast we moved further along the same jetty, where literally b'jillions of Surf Scoters - an American species of Scoter - flocked. There were the occasional surprise among them, such as the little female Long-tailed duck and a White-winged Scoter.

Left to right, White-winged Scoter (jumbo sized species), Long-tailed Duck & Surf Scoter
It was somewhat daunting to look for one little black duck amid scads of other little black ducks.

GAK! We're looking for what again...?
After an hour of scanning the hundreds of Surf Scoters and company, we headed over to the main harbor up the road, I parked, looked out the window and Voila!

TADA! The much sought, miraculous to behold,
Common Scoter, in all its majesty
Ah, and behold, there was much celebrating among the birders on the pier, as duck swam and dove, granting us all, lovely views. It was quite a wonderfully lucky Friday the 13th, for the following day, opened to a spectacularly heart breaking Valentine's Day for many, for on the day of hearts, the Common Scoter was nowhere to be found. I thank the birding saints for Don having deciding to drive up a day early. Hum... that duck does rather resemble Daffy, does it not?

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