Wednesday, October 14, 2009


I stopped in to Lake Myosotis today to see if anything was going on. As soon as I got out of the car I noticed that there were a few small rafts of ducks on the water.

One group formed a relatively straight line and the other was an active cluster further back.

The group that was continually swimming in a small, nervous group were Black Scoters. It was obvious that they were not comfortable. Scoters migrate at night like many species of birds and when the sun comes up they search for the first quiet, secluded area that they can find. Over the years, I've never even seen one of them dive or feed as all they are looking for is a safe place to rest until it is dark and they can continue their journey to the ocean.

It was a beautiful fall day so I hung around and watched them for a while. Every once and a while the entire flock of Black Scoters would take off and fly a lap around the lake, and then return to the same spot. They seemed very itchy to get going.

The other group of ducks were Surf Scoters. The above picture shows a female with a couple of juvenile birds that were there.

The Surf Scoters seemed much more relaxed and spent most of the time napping and resting up for the night ahead of them.

When they did wake up, there was a lot of wing flapping and preening.

I remember in my first Peterson Field Guide that one of their nicknames were "skunk ducks".
Easy to see how that name originated.

As the sun was setting, I couldn't help but thinking where these guys would be by morning. Would they make it to the Atlantic by sunrise? I'd like to think so. They are always one day wonders at Lake Myosotis.

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