Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2006-14a(R82)
(Transcribed by M. G. Moody)

Common name:

Black Scoter (Common Scoter)

Scientific name: Melanitta nigra
Date: November 13, 1982
Time: 9:30 A.M. to 10:05 A.M.
Length of time observed: [35 min.]
Number: 1
Sex: Female
Location: Antelope Island - Gt. Salt Lake Causeway
County: Davis
Distance to bird: 15 yards (closest) to 75 yds.
Optical equipment: 7 x 50 Binocs; 20 x spotting scope
Light Conditions: Overcast
Description:        Size of bird: About the same size as a wigeon or a redhead (13-14 inches)
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Duck-shaped (not as chunky looking as a golden eye, but longer than a ruddy)
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: Crown was very dark, almost blackish & contrasted with a smudgy white cheek that extended into neck region before blending with darker brownish gray breast.  Tack & flanks were all brownish-gray.
(Description:)            Bill Type: Uniformly dark gray. Shape- not as heavy as in other scoter sp. & not like a Ruddy Duck either.
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Wings: Dark brownish black - In flight , due to sex of bird & inadequate light the paler flight feathers were somewhat muted.
Tail: Shortish & dark.
Feet: darkish & Blackish
Song or call & method of delivery: No Sounds
Behavior: Observed it swimming on water.  Then it would dive & surface 10-20 yards away from where it went down.
Flew a couple of times, so we knew it wasn't an injured bird.
Habitat: Open water on the Gt. Salt Lake, south side of the causeway about 1/2 mile from Antelope Island.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Ruddy Duck - Size is smaller
   Coloration of female: white cheek patch is whiter & restricted to cheek area.
   Breast coloration is lighter brown.
   Size - Ruddy is smaller
   Flight - Ruddy really patters across water to get airborne.  This one was smoother in getting off water & didn't show lighter underparts as does the ruddy.  Longish profile in flight compared to ruddy.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
None - Lifer
References consulted:  
Description from: Notes made during  observation
Observer: Merrill Webb
Observer's address: 1063 East 400 North, Orem, Ut.  84057
Observer's e-mail address:  
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Mark Bromley, Mike Tove, Ella Sorensen
Date prepared: Nov. 13
Additional material:  
Additional comments: 2nd state record