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Birder2017

Scaup. What type?

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Personally, I'm leaning to Greater.  Rounder head in the first pic (which to me is the most crisp image), and, it looks the pics are taken on "big" water (big water has more greaters, smaller water has more Lessers).  Finally, the green head also makes me lean towards greater, but I know sheen should not be a major factor in making your ID.  All that said, the images are blurry, so it's hard to say for sure.

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1 hour ago, inastrangeland said:

BTW, are we sure these are all the same duck?  1 and 3 look similar, but 2 looks different...and more like a Lesser (bill size).

Agreed.  1 and 3 look like Greater, and 2 a Lesser to me.  Also note the difference in the coloring on the flanks- 2 is much duskier while 1+3 are pure white.  I'm pretty confident we're looking at two different birds here.

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8 hours ago, akiley said:

Agreed.  1 and 3 look like Greater, and 2 a Lesser to me.  Also note the difference in the coloring on the flanks- 2 is much duskier while 1+3 are pure white.  I'm pretty confident we're looking at two different birds here.

I think it is possible that all 3 pictures are of the same bird. The background pattern (dark blue stripes) makes the head look more "square",  but I think it really is not. And the color of the flanks is simply because of the light: the sun is coming from the left and, in pictures 1 and 3, lights the white flanks directly, giving a high contrast (and considerable amount of purple fringing, which is expected when contrast is high) as opposed to picture 2 where the bird front body blocks direct light, so the flanks look less pure white.

Only a guess, I'll edit this message if the OP tells us these are 2 different birds. ;)

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Specific location would help in this case. Is this a chase bird, say at the FIS ponds? Was the bird diving or loafing for this photo series? I'd like to see a bill shot, but otherwise I think the photos are inconclusive. I think the shelf in the head may be an artifact, and I lean Greater.

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1 hour ago, PascalNJ said:

I think it is possible that all 3 pictures are of the same bird. The background pattern (dark blue stripes) makes the head look more "square",  but I think it really is not. And the color of the flanks is simply because of the light: the sun is coming from the left and, in pictures 1 and 3, lights the white flanks directly, giving a high contrast (and considerable amount of purple fringing, which is expected when contrast is high) as opposed to picture 2 where the bird front body blocks direct light, so the flanks look less pure white.

Only a guess, I'll edit this message if the OP tells us these are 2 different birds. ;)

All three pictures are of the same bird. The picture was taken at a large water treatment pond with Redheads (1,000+ is my estimate), Lesser Scaup, Hooded Merg., Ring-necked, Norther Shoveler,  Buffleheads. The head was not square as the second photo appears, but the flanks were not as crispy white as photos 1&3. ( I held my iPhone’s camera up to my binocs to get these shots)This Scaup stood out because he was an outlier away from the other Scaups, was diving on its own. Its head appeared smooth and had a greenish sheen and flanks appeared to be lighter. I know that green iridescence is helpful but not key here. 

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Was this at the William E. Dunn Water Reclamation Facility?  Certainly, the pix look like they were taken there, as the birds are a LONG way away.  Personally, I would call that thing, in eBird parlance, "Greater/Lesser Scaup."  I think that the pix are just not definitive enough.

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On 1/22/2018 at 4:43 PM, inastrangeland said:

Personally, I'm leaning to Greater.  Rounder head in the first pic (which to me is the most crisp image), and, it looks the pics are taken on "big" water (big water has more greaters, smaller water has more Lessers).  Finally, the green head also makes me lean towards greater, but I know sheen should not be a major factor in making your ID.  All that said, the images are blurry, so it's hard to say for sure.

I agree. From what I can see, the head appears more rounded and lacks a peak.

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