Sunday, July 1, 2012

Black (American) Scoter - (Melanitta americana)

Black scoters1st Year Male on seaweed covered rock at Goosebery Neck, Westport Massachusetts are not a typical bird to find in southeastern Massachusetts in the summer months.  Normally you would expect to find Black Scoters here from mid-September through early May, during their migration and wintering seasons.  During our birding trip the other day( June 28th), out on Gooseberry Neck in Westport, Massachusetts, a raft of about 13 black scoters were seen.  The raft included adult male and female, black scoters, plus a number of first-year plumage scoters.
Black scoters normally breed in the fine off of North America and Labrador, Newfoundland and into Hudson Bay.  They also do occur in Alaska.  They nest in the tundra in large clumps of grass that align with grass and down.
The male black scoters are black with no white on the wings, and has a swollen yellow or orange knob at the base of the bill.  The females are a Sunni brownish in color and have pale grayish brown feathers on the rest of the head.
They feed by diving for crustaceans and mollusks and will feed on insects and their larvae during the nesting season.
This flock of birds probably did not migrate northward in the spring and have remained here over the summer.  Searching the information on eBird for the area around Gooseberry, the flock of 13 Black scoters is the largest number that has been reported for the summer months.  _D8C7857 June 28, 2012 NIKON D800

By utilizing judicious slow movement, not directly toward a black Scotus sitting on a seaweed covered rock, we were able to obtain some decent photographs of the duck.
 _D8C7768 June 28, 2012 NIKON D800American (Black) Scoter

So the next time you are visiting the shore and are bird watch and, take a Full look at the ducks that are out swimming, you may be surprised at what you find