Last week, Cornell's big day birding team found a Greater Scaup at a wastewater treatment plant on the southern edge of my county. On Sunday I took my chances and waited until the evening when the sun would be at my back. The identification would be tough enough through binoculars even in ideal lighting.
I arrived at the Amado Wastewater Treatment Plant and found two scaup roaming around. I was glad they didn't have their heads tucked away taking a nap! I studied the closer of the two in my binoculars and noticed the peak at the back and top of the head, most likely a lesser. I found the other scaup moving closer and immediately noticed a difference in the posture of the two birds. The first bird held it's head higher than the second bird whose more relaxed posture made the head look more round. A birder with a scope joined me and I had great scope views of both birds. At one point they came close enough to get this decent comparison photo.
|female Greater and Lesser Scaup|