Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2019-44

Common name:

Black Scoter

Scientific name: Melanitta nigra
Date: 10-25-19
Time: 3;55
Length of time observed: 10
Number: 4
Age: Adult
Sex: male
Location: Huntington Lake Reservoir
County: Emery
Latilong: don't know
Elevation: about 5000'
Distance to bird: Varied; closest was about 200 yards away, the other three about 4-500 yds.
Optical equipment: Zeiss spotting scope at about 30-40 x
Weather: warm
Light Conditions: cloudy
Description:        Size of bird: Field guide says 19-20 inches
(Description:)       Basic Shape: waterfowl shape
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: grayish-brown
(Description:)            Bill Type: duck-like, probably for crushing or straining
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
All these were swimming and diving, and mostly were a nondescript grayish brown overall. The closest one showed light gray neck and cheek; forehead was rounded--not slanted like in the other scoters. There was no other colors on the face or on the wings. The three farther away were feeding along the far bank by diving and then surfacing after 20-30 seconds. They showed the same markings as the closer one. I could barely see the yellowish base of the beak of the closer one--not the distant ones.
Song or call & method of delivery: No sound was given
Behavior: Swimming and diving
Habitat: Freshwater lake
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Already mentioned this in the description above. Wasn't one of the other two scoters, and not other diving duck is totally gray or black except maybe one of the female scaup which has a white face (which these lacked).
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
Have seen this species before at the Gt. Salt Lake and also at Piute Reservoir
References consulted: NGS fieldguide
Description from: Notes made later
Observer: Merrill Webb
Observer's address: 1617 Renaissance Way, Springville, Ut. 84663
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird: none
Date prepared: Oct 25, 2019 and again on Dec.19, 2019
Additional material: No_additional_Materials
Additional comments: Confident of identification based on what I have written and previous experience with this species and others like it.