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Mystery duck

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Old Sunday 15th February 2004, 14:40   #1
jmorlan
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Mystery duck

I'm pretty sure I know what this is, but thought I'd let others have a
crack at it before I put my foot in my mouth. Taken yesterday at Lake Merritt, Oakland, California. Oly D550z / Nikon FS3ED /
30XWA / hand-held.
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Old Sunday 15th February 2004, 14:45   #2
Jane Turner
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Its got a high crown like a Ring-necked Duck but the flanks are wrong.

So best guess is either Lesser Scaup or.... yes you guessed it, a hybrid..
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Old Sunday 15th February 2004, 16:01   #3
Andrew Whitehouse
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I'd tend to think it's a Lesser Scaup too.
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Old Sunday 15th February 2004, 16:12   #4
cuckooroller
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmorlan
I'm pretty sure I know what this is, but thought I'd let others have a
crack at it before I put my foot in my mouth. Taken yesterday at Lake Merritt, Oakland, California. Oly D550z / Nikon FS3ED /
30XWA / hand-held.

Joe,

One thing for sure, this is not in genus Accipiter!!

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Old Thursday 19th February 2004, 05:37   #5
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Nice Tufted Duck you've got there! Did you actually see the tuft?
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Old Thursday 19th February 2004, 08:51   #6
Joern Lehmhus
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Id have thought this is a hybrid?! the vermiculations on the back seem to be to fine for Lesser Scaup and isnt it a bit dark on the back also?
It is definitely no Tuftie (No tuft and head profile wrong).

What about A. collaris X affinis?

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Old Thursday 19th February 2004, 09:24   #7
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I was thinking lesser scaup, but had the same question with the grey. Could possibly be a product of the lighting?

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Old Thursday 19th February 2004, 10:05   #8
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A bird just like this is illustrated in Collins.

I think, without having a copy on me, that it is captioned as Tufted male x Pochard female hybrid.

A pic with the bill on would help if there is one.
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Old Thursday 19th February 2004, 12:01   #9
Michael Frankis
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I'm thinking possible Ring-necked x Lesser Scaup too - but a view of the bill is probably essential to get it sorted

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Old Thursday 19th February 2004, 14:07   #10
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Joseph, what did you think? Did you see him move his head?

We have lots and lots of both species of scaup here, and Ring-necked Ducks are common. They hybridize in the books, but I have not seen a hybrid here. Can't speak for California, though.

Tom, hybrid Tufties x Pochards don't commonly show up in California! That would be some rare duck! :-) ...And I'll have to surrender Tuftie on the shape of the head. I thought the photo might have fooled me on that, but I suppose not. Anyway, you folks would know!

However, Joern, I'm surprised you add in the tuft itself as a criteria in the photo. Scarce as Tufties are here, I've often seen perfect males, in positions like this one, showing not a trace of their tuft--even though in fact it was a nice long one.

Maybe North Pacific Tufties use more gel?

Guess I'll have to reluctantly buy into the scaup x Ring-necked Duck. Greater Scaup, then; that's a lot of white; and he sure didn't get it from the Ring-necked side of the family. Hm. Could be back-bred too. I'm not sure that I agree about the bill being essential: if it were a scaup bill, you'd be about where we are now; if it were a Ring-necked bill you'd be about where we are now. I suppose that's why I really didn't want to go for that domed head. I was trying to angle it from the camera in such a way that it wasn't domed. Oh well....

But tell us what you think, Joseph. We'd like to hear your California take on things. :-)

Last edited by Carson : Thursday 19th February 2004 at 14:21.
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Old Thursday 19th February 2004, 14:20   #11
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Hi Carson,
maybe thats possible, I dont know what brand of gel a Tuftie in your area would use...

But when I watch Tufties in Europe, from this angle the head shape is wrong; it is rounder in Tufted duck. And in general you should at least get a hint of the tuft feathers in this position even if they are flattened against the head-

I had proposed Ringnecked duckx Lesser Scaup (collaris x affinis) in my previous email..
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Old Thursday 19th February 2004, 14:27   #12
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Yeah, I saw that, Joern. And I have to agree with you. Plus the odds for a Lesser Scaup somehow seem more favourable.

-- Strange thing, though: it doesn't FEEL right! I don't know just what it is, but I'm uncomfortable with it. But, yes, I agree with your thinking.
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Old Thursday 19th February 2004, 14:34   #13
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I know what you meen...weell ...Aythya ...
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Old Thursday 19th February 2004, 14:37   #14
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WAIT a second! Folks, enlarge that picture of Joseph's up VERY big! Make it fill the screen! (Joseph, that's nice photography. It's really sharp.)

Okay, now, everybody: take a very careful look at the front end of that pure white side. Look! There's the diagnostic Ring-billed vertical white slash! That duck is a pure Ring-billed Duck!!! [Edit: sorry: I meant, Ring-necked Duck.]

The sides are NOT pure glistening white! THAT'S what was wrong! They are just reflecting the sunshine. That's why you can see that mark at the front. The sides are actually very pale pearl gray. It is a perfect Ring-necked Duck.

That's what was bothering me.

Comments???
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Old Thursday 19th February 2004, 14:46   #15
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See, guys? There's not a thing wrong with it. Aythya collaris, feather for feather. It's not a hybrid. It's honest-to-goodness, card-carrying, Ring-necked Duck, all the way, pure as the driven snow. :-)
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Old Thursday 19th February 2004, 14:51   #16
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Maybe about the white, but the back is gray, not black and that doesnt fit to Ringnecked Duck

Joseph, do you have another pic? Or did you see it in another pose than this?
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Old Thursday 19th February 2004, 14:56   #17
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The back is in the California sun too, Joern! There's nothing wrong with it. I know you want ink-black, but not in that light. If I were to leave this computer right now, in six or seven minutes I could be feeding this fellow's identical twin some grain! Hm. I was just going to compare it to the black of a crow, but my crows and your corvids are not the same! Anyway. Um...what shall I do, go and grab one and mail him over there? :-)
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Old Thursday 19th February 2004, 15:09   #18
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Extemely difficult (impossible really) from one pic but it could certainly be a RND...it has the tail too. More than that....

er wouldn't have thought a poch hybrid either
defo not a Poch x Tuftie

might have some LScaup in there but so hard to see with the light and hybrid ducks are very rare remember (in relative terms)....

Last edited by Edward woodwood : Thursday 19th February 2004 at 15:12.
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Old Thursday 19th February 2004, 15:12   #19
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Tim, that's a perfectly good Ring-necked Duck! I swear it! It's not impossible--it's a perfect picture. Joseph fooled us; that's all!
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Old Thursday 19th February 2004, 15:14   #20
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Yes of course it could well be, probably is, but not totally 100% conclusive for the folks above obviously hence the debate.......
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Old Thursday 19th February 2004, 15:15   #21
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Maybe Yer right , Carson

I dont have that much experience with either Ringnecked duck (still would like to see more pics of the bird, but cant exclude RND) or California Sun

right now here it is getting dark, weather is quite stormy and the Corvus coirone in front of my window do look pitch black
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Old Thursday 19th February 2004, 15:24   #22
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Hee hee! Well, I think this has been a lot of fun, and I've enjoyed meeting all of you! My goodness, we're "birding" thousands of miles apart! It's getting dark in Germany, and it's just coming on 8:30 in the morning where I am!

Well, look, fellows: I'M the one who should be embarrassed! If anyone was slow on the draw, it was me! That duck is completely at home here. So, if anyone wants to laugh, you can laugh at me! I don't care! I've learned a lot from making mistakes!

Anyway, I've enjoyed it. Strangest thing was that feeling I had earlier--SOMETHING WAS WRONG. I've had that in the field, but not so much with a picture.

Then I double-doubled the size, and I took one look at that white mark, and suddenly it all fell into place! I just had to laugh out loud. Don't worry; I was laughing at myself.

Thanks, Joseph, for the "good birding." And thanks, Joern and everyone eldse, for being such good sports! It would be fun, now, to all go out together and see what we could see! ;-)
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Old Thursday 19th February 2004, 15:57   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joern Lehmhus
Joseph, do you have another pic? Or did you see it in another pose than this?
Attached are two additional pictures. Perhaps they will help. There aren't any other poses as the bird spent most of its time sleeping. The second picture shows the bird with a Greater Scaup.
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Old Thursday 19th February 2004, 16:26   #24
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Well these again say hybrid Ringnecked Duck X Lesser Scaup to me,
as the back is really greyish with vermiculations (not only California sun, its really not black), but too dark for Lesser Scaup in my opinion,
and head shape is very ringnecky...

Anybody else out there who wants to stick his head out? I am going home now
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Old Thursday 19th February 2004, 16:29   #25
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[I'm doing a bit of an edit on this. Too long.]

I rest my case. Actually, the first picture is better. If you want to look at both photos, be sure to take a good look at the vertical white slash in front of the "white" side in the first picture. You can see it easily.

Go to the second picture. The same white vertical mark is barely visible. Here it has been drowned out by over-exposure. Hence the back appears pale too.

Personally, I tend to use "I don't know" way more often than, "That's a hybrid" or "That's probably a hybrid." I often say the first one; rarely the latter two. (Seagulls are the exception.)

I don't see anything surprising in the photo. I know from the first picture that there is a real and marked contrast between the white-appearing side and the vertical white slash. The farther you get from a Ring-necked Duck, the more that shows up. It is diagnostic a long way off, when a beginner is still having trouble seeing what colour belongs where. The slash does the job.

So, Joseph, had I seen your duck, I'd have looked for that white slash, which is there; and I'd have called it a Ring-necked Duck and gone on. It would not have occurred to me to wonder if he were a hybrid.

I notice both Peterson and Sibley show the Ring-necked Duck as black as the Tufted Duck. That was never my impression in life. Our rare Tufted Ducks certainly cause birders to comment on just how "black" their backs are; we found we could even separate a Tuftie out from several thousand Lesser Scaups, by looking for his black back--not his tuft.

Of course, most of our Glaucous-winged Gulls are hybrids x Western. But I don't think our many Ring-necked Ducks are hybrids. Usually there are a dozen or so in a group, as many females as males. They show no interest in the scaups. Our Tufted Ducks definitely show interest in the scaups.

So, although the back of a Ring-necked Duck is nice and dark, "blackish" has always done it for me in looking at the real thing. Maybe some populations are more jet black than others.

I've seen Ring-necked Ducks right up close in winter; they accept grain from your hand here, and the chestnut collar shines very obviously in the sunshine. And I've also seen many Ring-necked Ducks on the prairie sloughs and ponds east of the Rockies, where they nest.

I hope some of that might be of help. It's all just IMHO.

Good birding, folks!

Last edited by Carson : Thursday 19th February 2004 at 16:48.
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