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Mike, I've spent some time watching scoters in Northern CA. As I recall, these birds synchronized there dives such that most if not all birds would dive at the same time. This behavior, according to some journals, helped reduce losing there catches to hovering gulls; the gulls not being able to focus on one diving bird. Have you observed this behavior in FL scoters?  

Also, while surfing this winter, I have periodically observed scoters flying north. Just small groups of 2 -5 birds. I have seen the white cheek patch but at that speed and no glasses, I am reluctant to make the call. 

Tony Maguire
Jacksonville

----- Original Message ----
From: Michael Brothers <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Wednesday, December 6, 2006 1:54:09 PM
Subject: Re: [FLBIRDS] Black and Surf Scoters at Port Orange


I just came back from checking on the nine scoters and relocated the flock. This time I had much better light conditions and could clearly identify the birds as 4 Surf Scoters along wth the 5 Black Scoters.

I was also able to get a good look at the one bird that appeared all dark. It is a young male Surf Scoter. The large bill was clearly visible and was beginning to get some red and yellow coloring, but the body was largely brown with a faint whitish wash on the side of the head. I got good looks at the diving behavior of all of the Surf Scoters and they all showed the characteristic hop with the wings slightly open.

Finally, I also got two good looks at the young male and one of the others doing full wing-flapping that clinched that they were not White-wings.

Michael

Michael Brothers
Marine Science Center
Ponce Inlet

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