Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2007-42

Common name:

Black Scoter

Scientific name: Melanitta nigra
Date: 11-07-07
Time: 5 minutes
Length of time observed:  
Number: 2
Age: adult and juvenile
Sex: female and juvenile
Location: Otter Creek State Park
County: Piute
Latilong: 15 or 16
Elevation: 6625 ft
Distance to bird: 50 - 150 m
Optical equipment: Ziess 85t diascope (20-60x)
Weather: clear and calm
Light Conditions: full sunlight
Description:        Size of bird:  
(Description:)       Basic Shape:  
(Description:)  Overall Pattern:  
(Description:)            Bill Type:  
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Fairly large ducks with chunky bodies, round heads, and relatively small sloped bills.

Adult Female: uniformly dark brownish black (including belly and breast) with white cheek patch extending from base of black bill below the eye and down the throat, and crisply demarcated from dark crown, nape, and upper breast.

Juvenile: same as the adult female but slightly lighter overall with pale breast and belly and less sharply defined face patch.
(see photo)
Song or call & method of delivery: none
Behavior: The two Black Scoters were not associating with each other and were in different parts of the reservoir. The adult was alone, actively feeding and diving fairly close to the east shore about mid-lake. At one point, I believe it was eating a California Floater, Anodonta sp. The juvenile was resting near Buffleheads, Canvasbacks, and several female Common Goldeneyes. There were also several groups of juvenile Surf Scoters around the lake.
Habitat: long narrow reservoir
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
juvenile Surf Scoter eliminated by shapeof bill, and face pattern
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
familiar with Scoter species. I've seen a total of nine Black Scoters in southern Utah since 2001 (including five observed 11-06 through 11-07-07).
References consulted:  
Description from: Notes made later
Observer: Rick Fridell
Observer's address: Hurricane, UT
Observer's e-mail address:
Other observers who independently identified this bird:  
Date prepared: 11-07-07
Additional material: digiscope image attached
Additional Comments: Descriptions above copied from field notes, and are nearly the same as those I wrote for the Panguitch Lake Black Scoters also observed 11-07-07.