Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2013-91

Common name:

Black Scoter

Scientific name: Melanitta nigra
Date: 10-14-2013
Time: ~ 10:15a
Length of time observed: 30 min
Number: 1
Age: imm
Sex: female
Location: Sand Hollow State Park
County: Washington
Latilong: 19
Elevation: ~900
Distance to bird: ~100 m
Optical equipment: 20-60x scope
Weather: sunny and calm
Light Conditions: direct sun
Description:        Size of bird:  
(Description:)       Basic Shape:  
(Description:)  Overall Pattern:  
(Description:)            Bill Type:  
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Kevin Wheeler and I observed a first-winter / female Black Scoter with three first-winter / female Surf Scoters off the south boat ramp at Sand Hollow. We were looking for an adult male Surf Scoter reported on the 12th or 13th we did not locate the adult, but I observed it later that evening with an immature Surf Scoter. The scoters were resting together the majority of the time we observed them, however, they would occasionally raise their heads and swim a bit. We noticed the Black Scoter held its tail parallel to the water when resting while the Surf Scoters held their tails cocked upwards.

Classic duck shape with plump body, rounded head, and small black bill, slightly smaller overall than nearby Surf Scoters. Overall dark brown colored with pale cheek patch and dark cap on head extending from top of bill across crown and down nape of neck.
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: n/a
Behavior:  resting and swimming
Habitat: reservoir
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
References consulted:  
Description from: Notes taken at the time of the sighting
Observer: Rick Fridell
Observer's address: Hurricane, UT
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Kevin Wheeler
Date prepared: 12-05-2013
Additional material: Photos