White-Winged Scoters – Finally!

Male White-Winged Scoter

Male White-Winged Scoter

As if in answer to my prayer…the White-Winged Scoters that have been reported everywhere I have not been able to get to (namely the Chicago Lakefront where there is open water instead of ice) finally showed up in the Chicago River this week. Someone reported them at the North Branch but since the Loop is far south of that I didn’t know whether to be encouraged or even more frustrated.

Female White-Winged Scoter

Female White-Winged Scoter

But Wednesday morning I caught my first glimpses of them – they were catching naps all the way over on the other side and at first all I could see were small patches of white on their wings. But they eventually woke up and started diving. Still they were too far away to get decent pictures.

Female White-Winged Scoter

Female White-Winged Scoter

Yesterday I packed my better lens, and feeling optimistic (there was actually a little sunshine early in the morning) I attached it before I got out of the train station. I walked to the railing, looked over the side, and the White-Winged Scoters were there – on my side – as if they had been waiting for me. Even though the light was still a problem, the river being almost black, it’s so dark, and the birds being black themselves, I managed to get these few shots from some very cooperative birds.

Male WW Scoter 02-13-14 5129.jpg-5129

The Red-Breasted Mergansers are still in the river in numbers, too. Sometimes within good view.

Female Red-Breasted Merganser

Female Red-Breasted Merganser

And more often not.

Male Red-Breasted Mergansers

Male Red-Breasted Mergansers

And as it always is with diving ducks, they disappear.

Diving WW Scoter 02-13-14 5098.jpg-5098

Diving White-Winged Scoter


12 thoughts on “White-Winged Scoters – Finally!

  1. Thanks, HJ! When it warms up next week I’m going to try the lakefront (finally)! Happy Valentine’s Day too. Sorry I forgot that with your post. I am wearing red, though?

    • Thanks, Julie! They really don’t belong here, but the winter has been so brutal they have come south. I just heard on the radio this morning that the Great Lakes are 80% frozen. This is having a tremendous effect on diving ducks.

    • Not as odd as some I’ve seen, but all Scoters have some kind of knobby thing going on with the bill. I am convinced that diving ducks all have fishing lures for beaks. Makes sense, no? 🙂

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