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.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Surf Scoter

Melanitta perspicillata 

Medium-sized diving duck
Sloping forehead
Base of bill unfeather
White eyes
Orange legs and feet
Female: (above)
   Dark, sooty brown
   Two whitish patches on face
   Mostly black
   White patches on forehead and nape
   White and orange bill with black base
Listen to its call.

This duck was swimming close to the public dock at Saanichton Bay this afternoon. There are two levels to the dock and, to get a closer shot, I went to the lower one. That probably wasn't the best decision as it turned out to be a floating dock. Have you ever tried to focus on an object in the water while the ground beneath your feet is moving up and down? It's a bit tricky.

Learn more about the Surf Scoter.

Additional photos:
adult male

young male

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