Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Animal Wednesday - White-winged Scoter

My Dearly Beloved and I got a phone call from a birding friend about an unusual bird sighting for our area. A couple of White-winged Scoters showed up on a small lake not far from where we live.  I was so excited about this sighting I had to share it with you.
This duck nests way up in the tundra or around lakes and ponds in Alaska and Northern Canada. 
 I have seen them up on Lake Erie. They are common on the East Coast during winter. It is rare to see this handsome duck this far inland. 
Have a look at this large bill. 
It is quite colorful. 
They can dive to 40 feet to feed on shellfish beds. 
This guy looks so graceful as he dives. 
Sometimes making a big splash. 
This is the closest I have ever been to a White-winged Scoter. I watched him for some time.
When he bobbed up this time he acted very secretive. 
There was actually two of these handsome birds feeding in the same area. This one was headed away from the other one. Further out from where we were sitting watching. Obviously he had something. I have often wondered what these ducks eat when they are inland like this. 
If you enlarge (just click on the picture) the photo below you can see what he has. A Crayfish. You can see the claw open. The poor crayfish doesn't have a chance against this duck. 
He took the crayfish as far away as he could and then devoured it. Their powerful gizzards can crush hard-shelled clams that require a hammer blow to break. 
So this crayfish was like a soft appetizer for the Scoter. 
He looks quite happy with himself don't you think?
After getting the crayfish down he decided to take a nap. He moved in close to a couple of Pied-billed Grebes.  His traveling companion was still diving looking for his lunch.
I hope you enjoyed seeing this White-winged Scoter as much as I did. It was obviously an overcast snowy day. Thanks for stopping by. I hope you have had some interesting sightings this winter.