[Tweeters] Fw: Surf Scoter Extravaganza North Jetty Columbia River WA

Clay Crofton clayseebird at yahoo.com
Sat Apr 6 09:10:10 PDT 2013

Just got back from the coast. There were more than a few Surf Scoters at the North Jetty of the Columbia. We first saw them from the lighthouse: a huge raft of dark ducks that extended a considerable distance north from the Jetty tip. We skipped the museum and drove out to the Jetty. They were still there after I had hiked out to within 100 yards of the tip. The tide was still ebbing, and there was a milling jostling scrum of scoters at the tip of the jetty. They were spread out to the north as far as I could see. Birds were flying back to the scrum at about the rate they were drifting north with the current. I estimated 3-4,000 scoters. At low tide the raft compressed into the scrum at the tip of the jetty. Throughout the observation period small groups were dispersing into the estuary, typically 2-20 birds.
I was joined by Zak Pohlen and companion who estimated 3500 (link to his eBird
report http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S13575228). There were only 6 male Black Scoters and 1 bird that flashed white wing bars. The bulk of the birds were male SUSC's, 60-70% plus 10% intermediate males. I did not attempt to sex the basic plumage birds.
Does the accumulated wisdom of the OBOL community have any knowledge of SUSC migrating in sexually segregated groups?

I believe the feeding behavior was related to the Smelt run. 
Sherwood, Oregon
Smile, have a beer, watch Doc Martin on OPB, identify the gulls.

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