May I present to you with a male Greater Scaup (Aythya marila)? These birds are found off Brooklyn’s shore, particularly in Gravesend and Dead Horse Bays, during winter. Over seventeen thousand were counted in DHB last Monday during a coastal survey. Now, that is a raft of ducks. But this male was all by himself, rather unusually, off the Shore Road Greenway. There were a couple of smallish rafts of several dozen each further south underneath the Verrazano Bridge. In my experience, it’s hard to get a good photo of these ducks because of their distance, the generally frigid experience of wind off the water, and/or the sun, which happens to be off-shore of Brooklyn as well. But here we can see the nice blue bill and the feather pattern. These are divers. The female is, as usual, much plainer, brownish with a white patch at the base of the bill. Both look a lot like their smaller cousins the Lesser Scaup, a bird more commonly seen on fresh water.
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This work by Matthew Wills is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.