Most Popular Post

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Black scoters

A wind turbine was squeaking. That's what we thought initially as we approached the bench along the shoreline by the Interpretation Center at North Cape, Prince Edward Island. We had lunch looking over the Gulf of St Lawrence with the breeze at our backs.


My husband and I noticed two flocks of ducks off shore. Watching them as we ate, it became obvious what we thought was a squeaking wind turbine, was the sound of the ducks. They called in unison!


To hear the scoter call, check here.


After lunch, we went to the beach and watched one flock as they swam nearby.


 

                                        Two drakes calling in unison


These were black scoters, diving ducks whose drakes have yellow orange knobs on black bills. 


 


There was one hen in the flock, with the gray-white markings on the lower side of her head, who appeared as if protected by the drakes. She was smaller than the males and sat lower in the water. They often surrounded her 


 


and one displayed courting behavior. 


 


She appeared oblivious.


 


This island is their winter habitat. They will head out soon to their breeding grounds further north. Meanwhile, the courting dance continues as they feed along the shoreline.


Maybe next year we will see their progeny in the same location.

12 comments:

  1. I can understand why you would have thought it was the wind turbines Marie, a definite squeaky call, rather nice to listen to 😊 what a super spot to sit and eat your lunch.. this is something I'm determined to do more of this winter.. pack a lunch, flask of coffee and head out to enjoy our seaside areas!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nothing like a lunch by the sea, PDP.

      Delete
  2. I haven't listened yet, but I will. They are an interesting bird, none around here. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unique creatures, Jan, with a curious sound.

      Delete
  3. oh they are so beautiful - with their candy corn beaks!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Such a great description, Debbie! I must remember candy corn beaks!

      Delete
  4. It is a haunting and beautiful call. I can just imagine hearing that on a misty morning...
    They are beautiful birds. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are interesting creatures, EC. Watching the males display for the hen was amazing in itself.

      Delete
  5. The ducks are cute and beautiful. The call is very interesting and does make you think it was a wind turbine.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We thought one of the trubines needed a bit of oil when we first heard the call, Bill. My husband is always going around with an oil can at home so your thoughts go to what's most familiar first I guess.

      Delete
  6. They are lovely to see and fascinating to hear! My cats paid attention when I played the sound bite! lol Wishing you a very nice evening.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a perceptive cat, ildred. Lol.

      Delete