Walking the Pier

Last night after work, I drove down to Piermont, NY and walked along “the Pier” as it’s called for a bit of birding. I’ve been focused on my ducks lately and thought it would be a good place to test my skills.  I had a very good hour of birding in the last light!  The tide was coming in and near high tide; most of the birds were south of the pier.

List:
120 Canada Geese – (est) they were along the marsh in Tallman.
1 American Black Duck
20 Mallards (north side of the pier, nestled in the shore)
4 Bufflehead
20 Ruddy Ducks
50 Ringbilled Gills
3 Mourning Doves
1 Downy Woodpecker
and
60 Lesser Scaup Canvasbacks

At least that’s my best guess.  I had seen Lesser Scaup last week at Round Valley. These were either Lesser or Greater Scaup.  They had the dark head with the lighter body and were diving.  Without the use of the Internet, ebird or my bird book I was able to get it to Scaup.  At the time I didn’t know to look at shape of the head for distinguishing between Lesser or Greater.    I forgot I had my camera with me until it was too dark to photograph them.    When I returned home, I hoped ebird could shed some light, but no one had reported scaup recently, and definitely not in the area of 60!   But that was a count not an estimate.

Image

View south from the Pier towards NYC.

The Ruddy Duck ID almost fooled me.  I had the white check patch – which in comparison to the scaups I had just seen, it’s more like a white jaw patch (ignoring the fact that the jaw is really the bill).  But they were floating in a raft of 20, and towards the edge of the raft I caught sight of the longer tail.

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