Thursday, August 23, 2012

Surf Scoter

In the surf at the Seal Rest Stop along the California Coast Highway, swam a female Surf Scoter. She is recognized by her two patches of white on her head head. The anterior patch is vertical, not rounded. A few days later, along the Oregon Coast, we photographed an adult male Surf Scoter (see lower photo).

Surf Scoters breed on arctic North American freshwater lakes and winter along both coasts, south to Baja California and Texas. Unlike the other two scoters (Black and White-winged), the Surf Scoter is only found in North America. Until recently, little was known about Surf Scoter breeding biology. Females with broods are not territorial but are defended, nevertheless, by their mates. On crowded lakes, broods get mixed, and young are occasionally raised by step-parents (Savard et al. 1998).

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