Although described as common along both the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts, this raft of velvety black ducks was new and different to my eyes. The Surf Scoters were here for several days gathering along Cape Ann’s backshore and feeding heartily several hundred yards off the beach. Both in the evening and the following early morning that I found them, they were first to arrive on the scene, soon joined by a paddling of Buffleheads and then several Common Eiders, and all amicably diving together.
The male Surf Scoter’s well-defined stark white patches against ebony feathers lends this seaduck its common name, “Skunk-headed Coot.” But it is the scoter’s bulbous-at-the-base orange, black and white patterned bill that I find interesting and almost comical. The female is a plainer dull blackish-brownish with light colored patches, one behind each eye and at the base of the bill.
I would love to know if any of our readers have seen Surf Scoters, when and where, if you have a moment to write. Thank you!