Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2013-75

Common name:

Black Scoter

Scientific name: Melanitta americana
Date: 10-30-2013
Time: 12:00pm
Length of time observed: 20 minutes
Number: 1
Age: ?
Sex: ?(non-adult male)
Location: Antelope Island Causeway, at the "second" bridge by the marina
County: Davis
Elevation: 4200ft
Distance to bird: 50 meters at closest
Optical equipment: 10 X 50 binoculars, Canon Sx20 is Digital Camera, Vortex Spotting Scope
Weather: Partly cloudy, windy and cold 45F
Light Conditions: good
Description:        Size of bird: Medium sized duck
(Description:)       Basic Shape: duck like
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: dark brown body, white cheeks and blackish cap
(Description:)            Bill Type: duck like, dark olive brown
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Medium sized duck, dark brown body, whitish cheeks with a blackish cap with a dark olive brown bill.
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: None heard
Behavior: Swimming on the Great Salt Lake with a large raft of 18 Surf Scoters, mostly loafing. I don't recall it ever diving
Habitat: When we first saw it the duck was south of the bridge on the brakish water of Farmington bay,later the whole raft of Scoters took flight and landed on the north side in the main salt water of The Great Salt Lake,some of the Surf Scoters lining up and starting to feed on the outflow of water under the bridge,but I never saw the Black Scoter feed.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Elimination: Only other similar duck is a male Ruddy Duck, which is much smaller and with a shortier stocky body than a Black Scoter
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
I've seen Black Scoters before in November and December of 2011, in the exact same location. I also saw another Black Scoter female/immature earlier the same day at Farmington Bay, different individual.
References consulted: The Sibley Guide to Birds, D.A. Siblet 2000
Description from: From photos taken at the time of the sighting
Observer: Bryant Olsen
Observer's address: 688 East 700 South #105 Salt Lake City,UT 84102
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Original found and reported by Paul Higgins on 10-28-13,myself and several other including Ned Bixler, Douglas Meade and Dixon Smith saw it on a Great salt Lake Audubon field trip. Many others have seen it as well
Date prepared: 10-30-2013
Additional material: Photos