Winter Visitor – Surf Scoter

Three varieties of sea ducks called scoters winter along our coast. The Surf Scoter is the most colorful of the three. These are photos taken of a raft of about 3 dozen Surf Scoters feeding just off the shore. They were appropriately riding the surf and regularly dove to look for shellfish and crabs. The males have a brightly colored bill and big white patch on the back of their neck.

The bills of the younger males are duller and will brighten as they mature.

The Scoters were diving in small groups and surfacing at roughly the same time. I waited for one to pop up and then started taking photographs. I caught this one just as he broke the surface.

There were 2-3 Long-tailed Ducks diving with the Scoters, including this male.

I didn’t find any females in this group. They are identified by a dark bill and two white patches on their cheeks. The ladies were off on their own that day I guess.

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