It is usually mid morning by the time my husband and I arrive at the boardwalk. This particular morning was quiet without many people around although the birds, especially the Blue Jays, were in great voice as usual.
Our first stop was the gazebo to see the stream. There were ducks in the distance on the harbour and a photographer was busy nearby. I took some photos and was excited to see Black Scoters, diving ducks, which normally we have to go to North Cape, Prince Edward Island to see. It was unusual to see them in the Summerside Harbour.
It was a small flock, but we discovered as we continued along the boardwalk, others were near the shore further along the coastline. We could hear their unusual sound as we passed.
The males are black with a yellow orange knob at the base of the top beak. It resembles a piece of candy corn.
The females are smaller than the males without the candy corn and look more grey.
Any time we’ve seen the scoters, there are always more males than females.
The males make an interesting sound like a whistle.
They can be heard a distance away when the chorus starts. I was lucky to video them, capturing the sound but also how one of the males scuttered across the surface of the water, then lifted partially out and down. What is the significance of such action? Is it related to courting or dominance or just fun?
Have a look at this 20 second video.
Whatever the reason for the behaviour, we enjoyed our observation of the handsome whistlers and their lady friend.
The Scoters appear to be staying in the harbour though they haven’t been as close to shore as they were that first day. We still hear them even though they have moved further off-shore.