[Tweeters] Surf Scoter behaviou

beneteau beneteau at wavecable.com
Wed Nov 21 15:20:38 PST 2018

On Tuesday, some of the PAS birders went to the Tulalip Skate Park area
to look at the water birds on the bay. Near the shore were about 60 Surf
Scoters displaying interesting behavior: they were lined up nearly
shoulder to shoulder (ok, wing to wing) in a straight line and all swam
slowly in the same direction. It looked for all the world like a police
search of an area. They went in all four directions and only once did I
notice them all suddenly group together and all dive at once. When they
came back up, they again formed a line and slowly swam along at the same
pace. A couple of times something scared them up out of the water but
they came back and repeated the behavior. Lasted for at least a half
hour or more. Other Scoters farther away were not doing this.

I thought Scoters fed off the bottom, mainly; do they sometimes act
similarly to Shovelers and "herd" their food?  Has anyone observed this
behavior before?  Or do they have a secret drill team?

Jim Beneteau
Arlington, Wa

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