There are a number of reasons why I decided to take on this project. My first reason has to do with my interest in birds. This began shortly after moving to Victoria ten and a half years ago. With our house backing onto a wooded area, the chirping of birds is a familiar sound all year long. I often glance out the window to see birds of all forms in the yard throughout the day. Frequently I will pull out the Birds of Victoria or Birds of North America reference guides we have on hand. Unfortunately, the drawings in the first aren’t overly helpful for identification and the number of entries in the second is overwhelming. My second reason has to do with a photography course I took a number of years ago. Since that time I have been trying to think of a practical reason to buy a new camera. Taking pictures of birds requires a powerful zoom lens which my previous point-and-shoot camera could not accommodate. Perfect! My final reason was my desire to take on a new project to welcome in 2011. Hence, bird of the day was born.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Lesser Scaup

Aythya affinis

Medium-sized diving duck
Dome-shaped head; peak at back of crown
Bluish-gray bill with black tip
Yellow eyes
  • Black, effervescent head
  • Black neck and chest
  • White back with thin, black wavy lines
  • White flanks
  • Black rump 
  • Dark brown head
  • White patch at base of bill
  • Dark brown back with white flecks    
  • Brown chest, flanks and tail
  • Whitish belly  
Listen to its call.

As I set off in search of birds late this morning, the rain was just starting to come down. I was reminded of the old saying "lovely weather for ducks". Using this to my advantage, I headed to Beacon Hill Park where I knew I was sure to find lots of them. Thankfully, I wasn't disappointed. Within fifteen minutes, not only was I soaking wet but I had pictures of a number of new birds for my blog.

Although Greater and Lesser Scaup are very much alike, the shape of the head as well as the fact that these ducks were swimming in fresh water convinced me that they were Lesser Scaup.

Learn more about the Lesser Scaup.

 Incidentally, have you ever thought about all the idioms related to ducks? There seem to be a lot of them and not only to do with rain and water. I get the hunting ones but some of the others are pretty strange.  Lord love a duck! What does that even mean?

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