Greater Scaup and a Distant Snowy Owl: February 2021

I have seen rafts of over 1500 Great Scaup here at Col Sam Smith Park but on this day I was happy to find two close-up.

Greater Scaup (male)
Greater Scaup (female)

The origin of the name scaup may stem from the bird’s preference for feeding on “scalp”—the Scottish word for clams, oysters, and mussels.

Greater Scaup (male)
Greater Scaup (female)
Greater Scaup (male)
Greater Scaup (male)
Greater Scaup (female)
Greater Scaup (female)
Greater Scaup (male)

Someone had thrown a large quantity of food onto the beach:

Mallards
Mallards
Mallard (male)

Other birds:

Mallard (female)
Mallards (male)
Canada Goose and Mallards
Canada Goose
Mallard (male)
Common Goldeneyes (female)
Common Goldeneyes (female)
Long-tailed Duck (female)
Bufflehead (female)
Bufflehead (female) and Long-tailed Duck (female)
C
Long-tailed Duck (male)
Long-tailed Duck (male)

As there often is in winter here, a Snowy Owl was out in the docks:

Snowy Owl
Snowy Owl

Park views:

Some botany:

Oriental Bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus)
Panicled Aster (Symphyotrichum lanceolatum)
Filbert Tree (Corylus avellana)
Snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus)
White Ash (Fraxinus americana)
Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina)

NATURE POETRY

Little January
Tapped at my door today.
And said, “Put on your winter wraps,
And come outdoors to play.”              –  Winifred M. Gales (1761–1839) 

Miles Hearn

3 thoughts on “Greater Scaup and a Distant Snowy Owl: February 2021

  1. Lisa Volkov

    Hope that ice is thick enough to be safe!
    Love the winter ducks and other birds. Nice botany, too. Beautiful winter scenes.
    Thanks, Miles!

    Reply
  2. Lisa Volkov

    Oh! And of course, the Snowy Owl. Always special! The poem refers to January, but that’s OK. I guess it tapped out!

    Reply
  3. Trudy Rising

    Miles,
    Friends and I watched a Long-tailed Duck in shallow water at Humber recently as it dived several times just in front of where we were standing. A few moments after it dived, bubbles came up from it to the surface. Initially, I thought it must just be exhaling during the dive but, rather, do you think it was just squeezing air from between its feathers to help reduce its buoyancy? We observed this as it dived several times.

    Thank you for your thoughts on this.

    Reply

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