[Tweeters] Surf Scoter Salute!

jeff gibson gibsondesign at msn.com
Tue Nov 5 10:24:18 PST 2013

Growing up on the shores of Puget Sound, one of my favorite seasonal rites was seeing the return of the Surf Scoters for winter. The male Surf Scoter provides a burst of color and contrast on our grey winter waters, under grey winter skies.

But my favorite little thing about Surf Scoters is what I call the 'Surf Scoter Salute". This occurs when Surf Scoters first land on the water - they throw both wings straight up in the air in a sudden, and brief, salute! You can see it from about a mile away. Seeing this from a distance, you'll say " hey that's a Surf Scoter!". I find it an endearing phenomenon.

This got me wondering if I'm missing something with other ducks. Do the other Scoters do the same move? Or other ducks? All I remember is Surf Scoters doing it.

Living in Everett for the last 20+ whateverett years, I seldom see Surf, or any other scoters- they don't seem to like the estuary habitat inside of Jetty Island. Of course I know that I would'nt have to travel too far North, South, or West to see Scoters more, it's just that I rarely do. Working on on boat in Edmonds, scoter country, a month or so ago, I saw bunches of Surf Scoters and was waiting in anticipation for seeing the Scoter Salute. But the wind was up, and the water rough, and landing scoters were too busy with the conditions to salute I guess. Boo hoo.

Well, in a rare move, I'm gonna leave Snohomish County later this month on a trip to the Old Country, (Bellingham, where I lived for ten years way back in the 70's). I'm goin' on a birdwatching trip into Scoter Country, and maybe will find out more about those other scoters.

Till then, I say, " Surf Scoter's- I salute you!"

Jeff Gibson

Scoter Salute Society of

Everett Wa

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