Mistaken Identities

I wanted to take a second opportunity to photograph/identify the white-backed duck I saw at the Pier yesterday, so following work I raced the setting sun back to Piermont to see if I could locate them.  As I was headed up Ferry Rd, a birder with binoculars wrapped around her neck peered at me as we passed.  After the third glance she apologized, saying I looked like someone she knew.  I paused to ask her what she saw on the water.  She mentioned canvasbacks and mergansers.   As I didn’t have either on yesterday’s list, I was excited to get going.    I stopped at the area where I had seen the scaups yesterday, camera in hand, to take a closer look. Lo and behold, they were not scaups, but canvasbacks.  Today, the coppery color of the head was much more evident as was the slope from head to bill.

I’m fairly excited by the canvasbacks because (1) they are a new species for me.  (2) they are the first NJ species I “identified” by myself.  Yes, the woman mentioned there were canvasbacks, but she didn’t point to them as proclaim them canvasbacks.  I’ve semi-successfully birded in Costa Rica (twice) and SE Europe, but those were more exercises in walking around in perplexity.

List:
100 Canada Geese
30 Mallards
30 Ruddy Ducks
2 Buffleheads
200 Ring-billed gulls (Yes, I counted.  I got 197 and rounded/gave up).
74 Canvasbacks

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